Mango magic not enough for Blackhawks in 29-20 loss

Monday, May 30, 2016

Story Courtesy of Townsville Bulletin

MANGO magic could not get the Townsville Blackhawks across the line on Sunday, with the Intrust Super Cup ladder leaders beaten 29-20 by a fired up Easts Tigers.

Former Cowboys’ fullback and North Queensland cult hero Matty Bowen created three of the Blackhawks’ four tries while playing at No. 1 in place of Jahrome Hughes, setting up the first for winger Johnathan Reuben with a well-timed cut out pass.

The second assist came just before halftime, with Bowen hitting Reuben on the chest with another classy pass that allowed Reuben to run down the sideline and offload to centre Moses Pangai for an equaliser.

The last came too little, too late, with his quick-touch pass to Delouise Hoeter setting up the game’s final try almost a minute before fulltime.

Plenty of hype surrounded Bowen’s impending return but it did not affect the Tigers, who muscled their way to the Round 12 win at Langlands Park to take second place on the ISC ladder behind the top-placed Blackhawks, who still lead outright.

Injury concerns surround halfback Michael Parker-Walshe, who was walked off the field after the 68th minute following a head clash with Pangai, and he stayed in Brisbane overnight to have scans on a possible cheek fracture.

Hezron Murgha was also put on report following an all-in scuffle and Moses Pangai was given 10 minutes in the sin bin.

Try as they might, the Blackhawks just couldn’t match the Tigers’ consistency, but Blackhawks’ coach Kristian Woolf believes the loss could come a timely lesson.

“It was probably the highest quality game we’ve come across this year,” Woolf said.

“We had our chances but we made a few errors with and without the ball.

“But we can certainly learn a lot more from that than — for example — the (52-8) win we had over Mackay last week.”

The Tigers did not suffer stage fright in front of Bowen, and instead appeared to relish the occasion as they surged to an early 10-0 lead courtesy of two tries from five-eighth Billy Walters.

The Blackhawks hit back before the break thanks to Bowen’s two assists to go into halftime at 10-all, but it was Easts that came out firing in the second, with winger Dane Chang diving over in the corner and grounding the ball despite a strong covering tackle by Rhyse Martin.

Pangai’s try from Bowen’s second assist got the Blackhawks back on level terms at 16-all, but the Tigers were in again 10 minutes later when sustained pressure led to a try from Tigers’ lock Dean Britt.

Christian Welch all but sealed the game with the Tigers’ fifth try of the day 10 minutes from fulltime, and the killer blow came via a Brodie Croft field goal.

“I wasn’t disappointed with anyone and there was no lack of effort,” Woolf said.

“But defensively we needed a bit more resolve.”

Yesterday’s loss was just the second of the season for the Blackhawks, who host Norths Devils on Sunday at Jack Manski Oval.


Images courtesy of Vanessa Hafner – © Vanessa 2016