A Tale of Two Halves – Round 2 Wrap

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Townsville & Districts Mendi Blackhawks travelled to North Ipswich Reserve for their first away game of the Intrust Super Cup to take on the Ipswich Jets for the Defence Force Recruiting Shield on Sunday 15th March 2015. The resulting game was as unpredictable as it was exciting with each team taking control of the game for portions of the match.

In front of their home crowd and a TV audience the Ipswich Jets signaled their intentions to play unorthodox attacking football right from their initial short kick off which they re-gathered in an exciting twist and went on the attack. The Mendi Blackhawks hit back with a barging run by Ricky Thorby leading to what was almost the first try of the match only to be disallowed due the ball being dislodged on grounding.

A penalty kick to the Jets Wes Conlon in the 9th minute was the first sign of points on the board. A stream of penalties followed and the first try was awarded to the Jets Chris Walker as he skipped through the defensive line in the 21st minute. The fast pace of the Jets seemed to unsettle the Mendi Blackhawks and three tries followed in quick succession to Matt Parcell, Kurt Capewell, Nemani Valekapa. Another penalty kick to Conlon rounded out the first half score 26-0.

While the first half certainly belonged to the Jets the Mendi Blackhawks came out firing in the second half setting themselves up with a perfect try-scoring opportunity after a great fifth tackle option led to a repeat set. After conference with the video ref the first Mendi Blackhawks try was awarded to Wayne Ulugia in the 45th minute taking the score to 26-4.

The Mendi Blackhawks began mounting their comeback with powerful running through the centre of the field and muscling the Jets in defense. In the 50th minute Tom Humble dived over the line from dummy half but missed the conversion bringing the score to 26-8.

Fresh legs in the form of Glenn Hall, Corey Jensen and Chris McLean led to some great field position and the Mendi Blackhawks were on the attack once again. Thirty metres out a great offload from McLean kept the ball alive in order for Michael Parker-Walshe to get a clever flick pass away to an evasive Jahrome Hughes which resulted in the third Mendi Blackhawks try in ten minutes, this time to Moses Pangai.

The 60th minute saw yet another try from the Mendi Blackhawks this time to Zac Santo in the corner. The conversion was successful and the Mendi Blackhawks looked to be in with a chance with the score at 26-20 with 20 minutes left to play.

The Jets however hit back almost immediately with Valekapa scoring in the opposite corner stretching their lead to 30-20. With 8 minutes to go a big run from Glenn Hall and some fast feet from debutant Rhys Matsen resulted in another try for the Blackhawks but the kick is waved away taking the score to 30-24.  The Jets scored the final try of the game through Man of the Match Matt Parcell with minutes to go in the match.

Despite an impressive second half comeback from the Mendi Blackhawks, the Jets came away winners with a final score line of 36-24. Coach Kristian Woolf said his team were their own worst enemy in the first half “We put ourselves under too much pressure in the first half with poor discipline, poor handling and poor defence.”

“Our second half effort was much improved and showed the real character of the group to comeback from a 26 nil score line. We know we will need to be a lot more consistent this weekend against a strong Pride side.”