Hoare mus­cles up again

Townsville Bulletin - - RUGBY LEAGUE - MICHAEL THOMPSON in Win­ton michael. thompson@ news. com. au

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.”

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