Blackhawks win nail-biting northern derby
Monday, August 8, 2016
Despite scoring five tries to the home side’s four the Townsville & Districts Mendi Blackhawks won for the second week in a row by the narrowest of margins in their 22-20 victory over the Northern Pride.
With only one successful conversion from 5 attempts the visitors could well have been further in front but it came down to the final seconds in a thrilling contest at Barlow Park.
In what must have felt like deja vu for the Mendi Blackhawks their opposition skipped away to a ten-point lead in the opening stages of the first half in similar fashion to the Cutters the week prior.
It took the Mendi Blackhawks twelve minutes to get into the match when Delouise Hoeter crossed for the first try in the corner.
The Mendi Blackhawks continued their attacking raid as Moses Pangai scored the next try in the opposite corner. Soon after the visitors were forced to reshuffle their line-up after Michael Parker-Walshe was taken in the air during a kick and left the field injured.
Rhyse Martin was next to score running a sharp line after a Matthew Bowen break to take the score to 12-10 to the Mendi Blackhawks with fifteen minutes left to play in the first half. Pangai’s confidence was high as he attempted a kick on the 5th only for the ball to go out on the full.
However, he made up for his mistake a few sets later with a spectacular chip and chase that the Mendi Blackhawks spread wide resulting in a fantastic try to Kyle Laybutt.
The Pride hit back in the dying stages of the first half to take the half time score to 16-14.
The second half began in much better fashion for the Mendi Blackhawks after Kyle Laybutt scooped up his own kick near the try line to hand Anthony Mitchell an easy try just eight minutes into the half.
The points dried up following Mitchell’s early second half effort, with the Mendi Blackhawks dominating long stretches of the game with their attack but unable to deliver the killer blow against a fired up Pride side.
Spurred on by a vocal home crowd the Pride never gave up, with a try to Jack Svensden in the 74th minute setting up a grandstand finish in the northern derby.
It came down to the final play of the match with the Pride heading full steam for the line and the Mendi Blackhawks desperate in defense. Much to the crowd’s dismay a forward pass denied the Pride a chance at victory.
The forwards for both sides were brilliant with powerhouse Lorenzo Maafu leading the way for the Mendi Blackhawks in his milestone 100th Intrust Super Cup match. Maafu was equally strong in attack and defense throughout the match gaining valuable meters for his side and putting in some hard hitting defense where it counted.
Corey Jensen, Andrew Niemoeller and Brendan Santi were also outstanding for the Mendi Blackhawks measuring up to the much larger opposition of the Pride.
Kyle Laybutt had a strong return to the game after a long layoff with a broken wrist and both Matthew Bowen and Jahrome Hughes handled the mid-game reshuffle with class following Parker-Walshe’s injury.
It is the third consecutive win for the Mendi Blackhawks kicking their finals campaign into well and truly into gear. They remain in fourth position on the Intrust Super Cup ladder heading into a huge home game against a red hot PNG Hunters this weekend.
TOWNSVILLE BLACKHAWKS 22 (Delouise Hoeter, Moses Pangai, Rhyse Martin, Kyle Laybutt, Anthony Mitchell tries; Matt Bowen goal) def NORTHERN PRIDE 20 (Greg Miglio 2, Justin Castellaro, Jack Svendsen tries; Khan Ahwang 2 goals) at Barlow Park.