Passionate PNG Hunters outlast barnstorming Townsville side yet again
Blackhawks lose thriller
FOR the second time this year the Townsville Blackhawks have been pipped at the line by the ruthless and fiercely passionate PNG Hunters.
The Blackhawks now share top spot on the Intrust Super Cup ladder with PNG, following yesterday’s 28- 26 loss in Kokopo, which provided another reminder that this year’s battle for the ISC premiership is just beginning.
Trailing PNG 28- 12 with less than 30 minutes to go, the Blackhawks raced in three unanswered tries from Michael Parker- Walshe, Zac Santo and Kelepi Tanginoa to set up a grandstand finish.
The Blackhawks were on the cusp of bagging a late winner in the last minute, only for a dropped ball to give PNG the scrum, leading to scenes of jubilation at Kalabond Oval.
“If anything, it was the highest quality game we have played so far,” Blackhawks coach Kristian Woolf said.
“It was a good, tough, physical game and they ( PNG) are going to be very hard to beat. I thought the effort from us was certainly there and if we wanted to drop our heads, there were plenty of opportunities to do so, but we didn’t.
“I don’t think this is a team that will lie down and we certainly had all the running near the end and we were well on top. But errors let us down, and if we completed that last set I really think we could have got over the line.”
Just as they did when they beat the Blackhawks 22- 16 in Townsville two months ago, the Hunters started yesterday’s game in top gear, scoring the first two tries through Noel Zemming and Israel Eliab.
Tanginoa got a quick- fire double for the Blackhawks five minutes later to draw scores level, only for PNG to go ahead 18- 12 when fullback Stargroth Ameon crossed the tryline.
The Hunters fired with the same intensity after half- time to bag two more four- pointers through Ase Boasa and Adex Wera, but after that it was oneway traffic as the Blackhawks made their run, with Parker Walshe crossing over in the corner, Santo latching on to a blindside pass from Tom Humble to score and Tanginoa grabbing his hat- trick.
Neville Costigan played after passing a final test for concussion suffered in Towns- ville’s last game against Easts Tigers, as did Ricky Thorby.
“It’s been a great road trip, but at the same time it’s been a tough road trip,” Woolf said, whose team spent Friday and Saturday travelling to Cairns, on to Port Moresby and then to Kokopo in East New Britain.
“But travel is just part of rugby league and it’s a part of this competition, and we’ll take a hell of a lot of good things out of this game.”
It was a
good, tough physical game and they ( PNG) are going to be very hard to beat