Blackhawks stay wary
TOWNSVILLE Bl a c khawks captain Anthony Mitchell says Saturday’s Queensland Cup derby against the Northern Pride will be anything but a walk in the park.
Recent form suggests the Blackhawks will be overwhelming favourites for Saturday night’s game at Jack Manski Oval, with the Blackhawks riding a three- game losing streak, and the Pride losing their past seven encounters.
Former Broncos forward Francis Molo also plays his first game for the Blackhawks, and Jordan Drew has already proved himself as a Q Cup standout just two games after signing from NRL premiers Cronulla.
But Mitchell has played enough Northern derbies to know the Pride will travel to Townsville with a point to prove
“Ever since we entered the competition there has been that rivalry, that big brother, little brother feel,” Mitchell said.
“The Pride will always be out to beat us no matter who they have in their team, and any team that comes up here always turns up to play.
“It’s also our chance to win the new Foley Shield and we want to give ourselves every chance of winning.”
The Blackhawks will field a near full strength team, with Daniel Beasley not named in the Blackhawks 17 earlier this week as he continues to recover from a hamstring injury.
The Pride have a host of experienced Q Cup campaigners such as Ryan Ghietti, Sheldon Powe- Hobbs and Colin Wilkie, and also a mix of rising talents including former Cowboys under- 20s prop Darryn Schonig and 19- year- old fullback Kienan Grogan- Hayes.
But it’s the twin threats of Cowboys outside backs Javid Bowen and Gideon GelaMosby that could be the biggest guns in the Pride’s attacking armoury.
Bowen will play at right centre opposite Blackhawks centre Davin Crampton, while Gela- Mosby could play on the same side if the Cowboys allocate him to Q cup as expected later in the week.
“Javid didn’t play against us last time we played the Pride, but we know how dangerous he is,” Mitchell said.
“He’s a big strike weapon for them and with this game being played next door ( to the Cowboys) I’m sure he’ll be pushing to make his case for NRL. They have a big pack as well, and for whatever reason when they play against us they seem to take a more professional approach.
“I’d say it will be about us doing the hard work again in the first half and trying to put it over them after halftime.”
The Blackhawks and Pride clashed earlier this year in Cairns, with the Blackhawks grinding out a 28- 18 win.
The Blackhawks are placed fifth on the Q Cup ladder – three wins behind leaders the PNG Hunters – and the Pride sit one spot off the bottom in 13th. Saturday’s game kicks off at 6pm.