Black­hawks vow to avoid more trou­ble af­ter Pan­gai cops five- game ban

We won’t take the bait

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - MICHAEL THOMPSON thompson@ news. com. au

michael. THE Townsville Black­hawks in­sist they will not fall vic­tim to op­po­si­tion nig­gle af­ter cen­tre Mos­ese Pan­gai was slapped with a five- game sus­pen­sion.

Pan­gai suc­cess­fully had a Grade 4 shoul­der charge down­graded to Grade 3 af­ter fac­ing the Queens­land Rugby League ju­di­ciary on Wednes- day night, but will miss the re­main­der of the reg­u­lar sea­son.

Pan­gai put a shoul­der hit on an Easts Tigers player dur­ing last week’s heated In­trust Su­per Cup match in Bris­bane, and ear­lier re­ceived sep­a­rate con­trary con­duct and strik­ing charges af­ter an all- in scuf­fle.

Pan­gai pro­vided early guilty pleas to all three charges, and Black­hawks prop Lorenzo Ma’afu also pleaded guilty to a strik­ing charge re­sult­ing from the same match, cop­ping a one- match sus­pen­sion.

Black­hawks coach Kris­tian

O’Neill said he and Cowboys edge part­ner Matthew Wright were ready to stand up to the duo which has com­bined for more than a third of the Eels’ 61 tries this sea­son.

“( Radradra’s) a great ath­lete, he’s quite big for a winger and he’s fast as well and great in the air,” O’Neill said.

“He’s one of those all- round ath­letes and we’ll have to watch him in a lot of dif­fer­ent ar­eas. He plays off Takairangi so there are a cou­ple of play­ers we’ll Woolf said his play­ers learnt their lessons.

“We cer­tainly don’t con­done the ac­tions that our play­ers have taken on the field,” Woolf said.

“But that was very out of char­ac­ter for them and they are im­pec­ca­ble men, and we’ll make sure noth­ing like that hap­pens again.

“We just have to be smarter in the way we han­dle the nig­gle that other teams give us.

“We thought it was more than fair that we were al­lowed to make our case and present have to work on and if we de­fend well as an edge, we should be able to han­dle him.”

Cowboys prop Ben Han­nant said the re­spon­si­bil­ity for stop­ping the dy­namic Fi­jian in­ter­na­tional wouldn’t just fall on O’Neill and Wright.

“( Radradra’s) an awe­some player and he knows how to find the try­line,” Han­nant said.

“We’re go­ing to have our hands full try­ing to stop him and I’m glad he’s not a front rower.

had our ar­gu­ments, so we re­ally ap­pre­ci­ated that op­por­tu­nity.

“But we are dis­ap­pointed in some in­con­sis­ten­cies when it came to sim­i­lar in­ci­dents in pre­vi­ous games, and that par­tic­u­lar game as well.”

Black­hawks util­ity Tom Hum­ble will play at cen­tre in place of Pan­gai ( right), and Ma’afu will have his start­ing role filled by ei­ther Ricky Thorby or Chris McLean.

Neville Costi­gan had one more med­i­cal test to pass yesterday af­ter be­ing side­lined with con­cus­sion last week­end.

“In say­ing that, he does run through the mid­dle a bit.

“All 17 of us are go­ing to have our work cut out try­ing to stop him.”

O’Neill said he was glad Wright would be fit to play the Eels af­ter get­ting stitches in his hand for a cut sus­tained against Manly on Mon­day.

“We’ve been try­ing to work on that com­bi­na­tion through­out the year and it’s good hav­ing Wrighty there, he talks a lot,” he said. “He’s def­i­nitely a player we want on our edge.

A big week off the field will be fol­lowed by a big week­end on it as the Black­hawks travel to Kokopo, Pa­pua New Guinea, to face the in- form Hun­ters.

The game is a top- of- thetable clash, with PNG trail­ing the lad­der- lead­ing Black­hawks by one win.

“It’s go­ing to be a very big week­end for us and there’ll be a lot of travel,” said Woolf, whose team trav­elled by bus to Cairns overnight be­fore fly­ing to Port Moresby to­day, and then on to Kokopo in nearby East New Bri­tain.

“He got through train­ing ( yesterday) and his hand seems OK and there is a few days left be­fore the game so he should be all right.”

Co- cap­tain Matt Scott also trained yesterday morn­ing in another sign that a quadri­cep in­jury won’t stop him fac­ing the Eels.

Scott has played 198 NRL games and if he plays on Mon­day against Par­ra­matta, will be able to play his 200th game in Cowboys colours in front of his home fans.

Pic­tures: SCOTT RAD­FORD- CHISHOLM

HOWZAT: Cowboys winger Justin O’Neill with South­ern Cross Catholic School stu­dent So­phie Fisher, 12, and ( Mad­disan Melville, 11, and Ethan Hunter, 11, join in the fun. COWBOYS winger Justin O’Neill shows some pace on the field but he was met with pace of another sort yesterday af­ter­noon.

O’Neill vis­ited his Cowboys adopt- a- school South­ern Cross Catholic School for a hit of cricket.

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