Hoare muscles up again
THE Townsville Blackhawks touched down in Winton late yesterday and a Cowboy hoping to earn back his NRL spurs came along for the ride.
Cowboys forward Sam Hoare makes his return from a broken hand in tonight’s Outback clash against the Ipswich Jets, which forms part of the Queensland Week round.
The Blackhawks were welcomed at Winton airport yesterday by the region’s mayor, Cr Butch Lenton, and later mingled with locals at the town’s iconic North Gregory Hotel. But today the Blackhawks get down to the business of winning a game that could propel them to as high as third on the Q Cup ladder.
Hoare’s inclusion brings added muscle to an already rugged Blackhawks pack, which includes mid- season Cup’s Country signing Francis Molo — who made his Blackhawks’ debut in last weekend’s dominant win over the Northern Pride — and an improving Sione Lousi.
Daniel Beasley also flew to Winton yesterday after passing fitness tests on a hamstring injury, which kept the 2015 Q Cup prop of the year sidelined for the past fortnight.
But it’s Hoare’s inclusion which Blackhawks captain Anthony Mitchell says could give the Blackhawks more decisive punch.
“I’m hoping we’re a bit of a stepping stone for him to break into that Cowboys first- grade squad,” he said.
“He’s been training extremely hard to get back to be in top flight, and hopefully his hand holds up well.
“It did during the week, and I think he’ll take a lot of confidence from playing this weekend. I’ll be a bit greedy and want him for the rest of the year, but he’ll definitely be pushing for first grade.”
Hoare was starting to find form earlier this year after recovering from a long- term ACL injury, only to suffer his broken hand in the Blackhawks’ win against Redcliffe.
“He broke it just as he was starting to get going, but injuries can certainly be worse and sometimes those little enforced lay- offs can help you,” Blackhawks coach Kristian Woolf said.
“If he can stay healthy as the year goes on I’ve got no doubt he’s going to play some really good footy.”
The Blackhawks’ other mid- season signing, Jordan Drew, will play his third Q Cup game at centre after overcoming an injury scare to his leg after being sidelined during last weekend’s game against the Northern Pride.
Mitchell said the Blackhawks were eager to give Winton a quality Q Cup game.
“The weather is magic at the moment and Ipswich has been a bit of a bogey team for us, and it’s always an exciting game,” he said.
“Footy still needs to come out west and be heavily supported, because people here are still supporting the game.”