Blackhawks regain mojo as test looms against PNG Hunters

Monday, August 7, 2017


TRENT SLATTER, Townsville Bulletin
August 7, 2017 12:00am

THE Townsville Blackhawks are confident they’ve rediscovered their killer instinct after overcoming a determined Central Capras side 26-14 in Rockhampton on Saturday night.

Emotions were running high for the last-placed Capras as they prepared to farewell co-captain Gavin Hiscox in his final home game and they came out firing when winger Ken Tofilau scored after just four minutes.

The Blackhawks were quick to reply through Blake Leary for a 6-4 lead before Capras fullback Tony Tumusa found his way across for his side’s second, but a try blitz from Carlin Anderson and Jordan Drew just before the break gave the visitors a 14-8 halftime lead

Anderson made it a double in the 55th minute before the Capras closed the gap with a converted try to hooker Krys Freeman, but Daniel Beasley iced a strong win for the Blackhawks right on full-time.

The Blackhawks have been guilty of letting games slip away over the past fortnight and coach Kristian Woolf said he was pleased to see his side controlling the game more effectively.

“The Capras turned up and had a lot of emotional investment in the game and played really well. We had to work hard and play quite well to beat them,” Woolf said.

“I thought we really strangled them to death in second half. We really dominated the field position and possession and just really strangled them until they broke.

“They weren’t going to go away easy and they had a lot of energy, but we just hung in and showed some good patience.”

Much of that composure could be attributed to the return of halfback Michael Parker-Walshe, who has been sidelined for the past month with a shoulder injury.

Parker-Walshe combined effortlessly with five-eighth Kyle Laybutt and hooker Anthony Mitchell and Woolf felt the talented halfback added more polish to their attacking sets.

“He hasn’t played footy for over a month so we couldn’t put too much on him, but he handled the occasion really well,” Woolf said.

“He just added those things been lacking and his fifth play options were really good.

“I think it’s a big part of what we’ve been missing, being able to go through your sets and still ask some questions of the defence without trying to find those 50-50 plays. Parker-Walshe in particular brought that mindset.”

The win helps the Blackhawks cement sixth on the ladder, but they still have an arduous run home against the competition’s top-two sides in Papua New Guinea and Sunshine Coast.

It all starts with the PNG Hunters at Jack Manski Oval this Saturday, but Woolf said the Blackhawks would take plenty of confidence out of their win over the Capras.

“That gives us a real confidence boost and reminds us of what style of footy we play best. We’re in a good position to play PNG in what’s going to be a tough game at home,” Woolf said.