Blackhawks bow out of 2016 finals race
Monday, September 12, 2016
The 2016 season is over for the Townsville & Districts Mendi Blackhawks after the home side were knocked out of the Intrust Super Cup finals by the Sunshine Coast Falcons 18-10 on Saturday at Jack Manski Oval.
After a season plagued with injury and player availability issues the Mendi Blackhawks lined up for the elimination final with a number of positional changes. The absence of Moses Pangai was noticeable as the reshuffled line up did their best to form combinations on the run.
The changes appeared to have affected the team’s cohesion as they struggled to gain any traction in the first 20 minutes of the match against a Falcons side packed with Melbourne Storm talent.
Despite Kyle Laybutt’s sin-binning that saved a certain Falcons try at the end of the first forty, the Mendi Blackahwks went to the break in the lead 10-8 after some individual brilliance from Jahrome Hughes and Michael Parker-Walshe.
The home side had plenty of possession in the second stanza but were unable to find the line at all in what became their final half of the 2016 season. The Falcons on the other hand took their opportunities with both hands as they scored an 10 unanswered points to take the win.
Prop Corey Jensen was again a leader for the Mendi Blackhawks with his tireless work in the middle, whilst back rowers Rhyse Martin and Andrew Niemoeller made plenty of tackles.
The Mendi Blackahwks were gutsy in defence especially during the period Laybutt was off the field but their attacking options were not up to their usual standards.
Coach Kristian Woolf praised his troops following the match for their tenacity and willingness to dig in for each other in the face of a season riddled with injury and disruptions.