Blackhawks low on troops, high on points

Monday, July 13, 2015

For the opening ten minutes of the Round 18 clash between the Townsville & Districts Mendi Blackhawks and the Norths Devils both sides defended admirably and it looked set to be a tough match. The Devils had several Broncos in their line up and the home side were without several of their big names due to injury concerns and North Queensland Cowboys players being rested.

The Mendi Blackhawks drew first blood as winger Lenny Magey dived over in the corner to take the score to 4-0 after ten minutes. A classy backline shift provided the next points for the home side as Samsen O’Niell touched down in the opposite corner fifteen minutes later.

With an 8-0 scoreline the Norths Devils were certainly still in the match towards the end of the first half but some turnstile defense in the middle let the visitors down significantly. Jahrome Hughes was the first to take advantage, slicing through and racing away to hand Magey his double.

Zac Santo, playing fullback, was the next to capitalize on the lack of resistance up the middle as he brought the ball back from the 20 metre line and ran straight past the Devils defense to put centre Kyle Feldt over the line.

The floodgates had opened and the Mendi Blackhawks dominated the final eleven minutes of the first half. The home side went on to score three more tries, including a close range effort from Noel Underwood and a double to interchange hooker Nathan Norford. The score at the break was 38-0 to the Mendi Blackhawks.

To their credit the Devils stepped up their defense in the second half and kept the second half scoreline at a respectable two tries to one to the Mendi Blackhawks.  Bronco Dale Copley set up the Devil’s only try of the match whilst teammate Kodi Nikorima looked the player most likely to penetrate the home side’s line as he showed some speed out of dummy half. However the Mendi Blackhawk’s defense held strong despite a possession shift in the later stages of the match.

For the understrength Mendi Blackhawks Santo was outstanding at the back, both in his positional play and leading the way with attacking raids. Forwards Lorenzo Maafu, Daniel Beasley and Neville Costigan were solid in gaining their side field position, especially in the first half as they hit the ball up with the same intensity as they exhibited in defense.  Centre Kyle Feldt was strong on the edges and interchange prop Ricky Thorby made a huge impact in second half of the match.

Following the Devils win Coach Kristian Woolf is looking forward to a tough two weeks, “This weekend we had a good win with some key personnel missing but we are now focusing on a very tough next two rounds. Playing both Easts and PNG Hunters at their home grounds will be a real test for our side.”

“They are two top five sides and both in good form, it will give our players a chance to test themselves moving towards the end of the season.” He said.

TOWNSVILLE BLACKHAWKS 50 (Lenny Magey 2, Nathan Norford 2, Kyle Feldt, Mosese Pangai, Tom Humble, Samsen O’Neill, Noel Underwood; goals Feldt 5, Humble 2) def NORTHS DEVILS 6 (Michael Lucas; goal Liam Tyson).


Round 18 vs Norths Devils Photo Gallery – images courtesy of Alix Sweeney