LATE BLAS T SEES JETS FLY HOME

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

NOT even the out­back chill could take the fire out of an­other Townsville Black­hawks and Ip­swich Jets show­down, with the Jets snatch­ing a 22- 20 win in Win­ton on Satur­day night.

The Black­hawks were their own worst en­e­mies, with a low com­ple­tion rate com­bined with sloppy op­tions keep­ing Ip­swich in the con­test in front of a pro Black­hawks crowd at Win­ton’s Eric Len­ton Memo­rial Ground.

Trail­ing 12- 4 at half­time, the Black­hawks un­leashed a three- try blitz in eight min­utes through Blake Leary, Sione Lousi and Jonathon Rueben to make it 20- 12.

The game was in the Black­hawks’ hands, but Ip­swich – not a team for the or­tho­dox – hit back through prop Nat Neale fol­low­ing some raz­zle daz­zle play, and hooker Luke Capewell then put Ip­swich in front with an elu­sive solo ef­fort with less than 15 min­utes re­main­ing.

The Black­hawks had plenty of time to re­spond and al­most did when Leary pow­ered through to Ip­swich’s in- goal, only to have the ball raked.

An­other promis­ing set from an Ip­swich line dropout then came un­done with a sloppy last play op­tion, Kyle Lay­butt’s kick drop­ping safely to the feet of Jets’ winger Richard Pan­dia.

The Black­hawks re­main fifth on the Q Cup lad­der, but leave Win­ton hav­ing wasted a huge op­por­tu­nity to en­ter the top four with four games re­main­ing un­til fi­nals.

Black­hawks coach Kris­tian Woolf, whose team lost the 2015 grand fi­nal against the Jets, re­jected any talk of the Jets be­ing the Black­hawks’ bo­gey side.

“I don’t think they are at all,” he said.

“For what­ever rea­son we prob­a­bly looked at them a bit on the lad­der this week­end and to be hon­est we weren’t quite as pre­pared for a close game as we needed to be.

“That’s some­thing we need to learn and grow from, and make sure we’re bet­ter next week.

“We’re still sit­ting in­side the ( top) six and we need to make sure we’re re­ally good in the last four games and have a gen­uine crack at the fi­nals.”

The Black­hawks started the Coun­try Week game with a glut of pos­ses­sion, and were re­warded af­ter 10 min­utes when cen­tre Jor­dan Drew posted the game’s open­ing try by fin­ish­ing off a shape play down the left edge, mak­ing it 4- 0 with a missed con­ver­sion.

The Jets kept chanc­ing their arm, how­ever, and soon hit back when lock Tyson Lofipo barged over un­der the posts on Ip­swich’s first at­tack­ing raid.

Jets cen­tre Mar­ion Seve then made it 12- 4 by shrug­ging off three Black­hawks de­fend­ers, and Wes Con­lon made no mis­take with the easy con­ver­sion.

The Black­hawks had fur­ther scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties, and Lousi al­most got his team’s sec­ond try with a pow­er­ful ef­fort, only for some des­per­ate Ip­swich de­fence to stop the hulk­ing prop in his tracks.

Ip­swich would not threaten Townsville’s try­line for the rest of the half, with all the at­tack­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties com­ing the Black­hawks’ way, al­though poor com­ple­tions – 10 from 17 sets – and a be­low- par kick­ing game cur­tailed any hopes of nar­row­ing the deficit be­fore half­time.

Reuben was placed on re­port for a sec­ond half heavy tackle and could face a ner­vous wait with the match re­view com­mit­tee, but half­back Michael Parker- Wal­she may re­turn from a ham­string in­jury ahead of this week­end’s away game against Burleigh.

Satur­day’s day in Win­ton in­cluded ju­nior games and a pair of cur­tain- rais­ers, with All Souls St Gabriels beat­ing Black­heath & Thorn­burgh Col­lege 32- 10, and Win­ton Devils se­cured home time pride with a 32- 10 win over Il­fra­combe Devils.

For­mer NRL hooker Nathan Friend was among match day guests, along with Sports Min­is­ter Mick De Brenni.

TAK­ING CHARGE: Black­hawks five- eighth Kier­ran Mose­ley looks to pass dur­ing the Black­hawks’ clash against the Ip­swich Jets in Win­ton on Satur­day night.

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