Blackhawks triumph in tense Northern Derby
Friday, June 5, 2015
Prior to Friday’s Northern Derby at Mackay Stadium, Townsville & Districts Mendi Blackhawks Coach Kristian Woolf called the Mackay Cutters a gritty, tough football side. The home side certainly delivered in a bruising encounter that left fans on the edge of their seats right until the final minutes.
It was a tough battle from the first whistle and continued throughout the match with the half time scores locked at nil all. Heavy contact in defence was a highlight from both teams in the first half, with execution proving to be the lowlight as try-scoring opportunities were squandered at both ends.
Neither team were willing to give an inch in the entertaining first stanza which saw both the Cutters and Mendi Blackhawks appear to gain the ascendency at different times during the opening 40 minutes.
The second half began with the Cutters halfback Liam Taylor intercepting a wayward pass and racing 80 metres before being cut down by some desperate Mendi Blackhawks defence. The huge home crowd barely had time to sit down before Mendi Blackhawks posted the first points of the match at the 47th minute after a Jahrome Hughes break saw Michael Parker-Walshe score a long range try.
The home side hit back in the 55th minute levelling the scores at 6-6 after some clever passing saw Jordan Periera slide through to score. The Cutter’s good work was undone minutes later when they spilled the ball near their own line and a quick thinking Zac Santo scooped it up to take the score to 12-6 with just over 20 minutes remaining in the match.
The Cutters were relentless in their attempts to chase down the visitors and with a vocal home crowd right behind them they managed to claw their way back to 12 all after Buchanan Rawhiti outpaced the Mendi Blackhawks defence to reach a Taylor grubber to even the scores once again.
A penalty to Rhyse Martin for hands in the ruck at the 73rd minute saw Kyle Feldt calmly taking a penalty kick 35 metres out which put the Mendi Blackhawks in the lead 14-12. In a tense final few moments the Cutters had the final opportunity at the line and appeared to have scored, however the referee ruled that the ball was grounded short of the line. In one of their toughest contests of the season to date the Mendi Blackhawks held on to a narrow victory at Mackay Stadium, taking it out by two points.
TOWNSVILLE BLACKHAWKS 14 (Zac Santo, Michael Parker-Walshe tries; Kyle Feldt 3 goals) def MACKAY CUTTERS 12 (Jordan Pereira, Buchanan Rawhiti tries; Liam Taylor 2 goals) at Stadium Mackay.
*Image courtesy of Donna Drinkwater – Creative Sports Photography