Blackhawks tame Tigers on Anzac Day

Monday, April 27, 2015

Anzac Day is an emotional day all over the country but it takes on a special meaning in a garrison city such as Townsville and the emotion was palpable as the current two top teams in the Intrust Super Cup lined up for a moving Anzac Day Ceremony on field.

Standing shoulder to shoulder, arm in arm; the Townsville & Districts Mendi Blackhawks and the Eastern Suburbs Tigers took time out before kick-off to remember the sacrifices that were made 100 years ago so that we can enjoy the freedoms we do in 2015.

After a moving ceremony, complete with a performance of the national anthem by emerging country artist Jade Holland the top of the table clash began as expected; with impressive line speed and some solid contact from both sides. However handling errors and poor fifth tackle options resulted in a 15 minute arm wrestle where no points were scored.

It took a special tip-on play from fullback Jahrome Hughes to break the deadlock, with Hughes tip on landing in the hands of prolific try scorer Zac Santo who crossed in the corner for the first points of the match. Five minutes later back to back penalties propelled the Blackhawks downfield and the crafty fullback was at it again, terrorising the Tigers left edge and putting Moses Pangai over with a slick pass.

Memories of the previous week’s 8 failed conversions faded fast as Kyle Feldt made the first two conversions look like child’s play from out wide taking the score to 12-0 at the sixteenth minute.

The work rate from Daniel Beasley, Lorenzo Ma’afu and Neville Costigan both on and off the ball was immense and the Blackhawks began to chew up easy metres and spent the rest of the first half marching downfield at will.

Battling their way out of their own end the Tigers coughed up the ball following a scrum and a cheeky Michael Parker-Walshe took instant advantage scooping up the ball and running 20 metres to score once more in the left corner.

Beasley was penalised and placed on report shortly after after a tackle on Shaun Nona. The resulting set produced the first points for the Tigers after Donald Malone slipped through some tired Blackhawks defense. Malone converted his own try taking the score to 18-6 after thirty-four minutes.

Another handling error twenty metres out from the Tigers line led to the final points of the first half after a quick pass from Anthony Mitchell found Moses Pangai out wide. The hulking centre proved too strong to stop close to the line and the Blackhawks went to the break leading 22-6.

The second half began as the first half ended with the Tigers spilling a Blackhawks high kick and Glenn Hall picking up the scraps to score a rare four pointer. The Tigers took some time to hit back and did so in the 55th minute after Shane Neumann ducked out of a number of ineffective tackles before forcing his way over the Blackhawks line.

The Blackhawks were next to score, this time through Robert Lui at close range. Lui converted his own try taking the score to 34-12 with seventeen minutes left to play.

There was some controversy in the closing stages of the match after a Lorenzo Ma’afu tackle on Grant Giess erupted into push and shove from both sides. Ma’afu was placed on report and the resulting set involved some driving defense from a fired up Blackhawks.

The final points of the match started with a brilliant cut out pass from Lui and some fast feet from Jonathon Reuben and ended with a try under the posts to Kyle Feldt taking the closing score to 40-12.

Coach Kristian Woolf highlighted the defense of with his troops as the stand out factor against the Tigers, noting that it was the Blackhawks best performance of the year so far.

“We set a standard in defense in the match on Saturday. We will be aiming to continue to perform at that level defensively for the rest of the season. We really made the Tigers work hard to score their tries and we want to continue making it tough for our opposition to score points moving forward.”

TOWNSVILLE BLACKHAWKS 40 (Santo, Pangai (2), Parker-Walshe, Hall, Lui, Feldt tries; Feldt (4), Lui goals(2) goals) def EASTS TIGERS 12 (Malone, Neumann tries; Malone (2) goals) at JACK MANSKI OVAL