B’Hawks to lose two of the best

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

TOWNSVILLE Bl a c khawks duo Michael Parker- Wal­she and An­thony Mitchell are re­tir­ing from the In­trust Su­per Cup at sea­son’s end.

Parker- Wal­she and Mitchell will re­tire from ISC to con­cen­trate on their work com­mit­ments, and the hunt is now on to find re­place­ments for the classy pair.

Townsville Black­hawks op­er­a­tions man­ager Adrian Thom­son said it would be a dif­fi­cult task to fill the void left by Parker- Wal­she, ar­guably the ISC’s best half­back, and Mitchell who has 39 games of NRL ex­pe­ri­ence.

“They’ve both led from the front from day one,” he said.

“They’ve been an in­te­gral part of get­ting us to where we are to­day, both on and off the field, and they will be big losses in that ca­pac­ity.

“It’s more that you re­tire from train­ing, not play­ing, and be­ing put through pre- sea­son and then train­ing week- in, week- out.

“They have dif­fer­ent pri­or­i­ties now; Ant’s got his busi­ness go­ing very well and Mick’s set­tled right down with his own house, so they have dif­fer­ent pri­or­i­ties then they did a cou­ple of years ago.

“They’re lo­cal and we’re still hope­ful they’ll have ties to the club in dif­fer­ent ar­eas.

“Wal­shey keeps telling us he’ll be 130kg half­way through next year with no train­ing, but we re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate hav­ing those blokes in­volved.”

Satur­day’s game against the PNG Hunters at Jack Man­ski Oval will be last reg­u­lar sea­son game Parker- Wal­she and Mitchell will play at home, adding fur­ther sig­nif­i­cance to a game the Black­hawks must win to en­sure their place in the ISC’s top six.

Parker- Wal­she made his re­turn from a shoul­der in­jury in last week­end’s 26- 14 win over the CQ Capras, and Mitchell has been a bedrock at hooker.

They will play in an un­changed Black­hawks team that takes on a Hunters’ team which leads the ISC ladder thanks to a barn­storm­ing run of con­sis­tency which has swept aside al­most all teams, in­clud­ing the Ip­swich Jets who they thumped last week­end 20- 4.

“The game it­self is huge and we have a lot of re­spect for the Hunters,” Thom­son said.

“It’s a big chal­lenge for us, but we just want to make sure we do the right thing and pay trib­ute to two guys who have been re­ally good for us.

“We’re well down the re­cruit­ment line and they are big holes to fill, there’s no doubt about it. But we’re pretty con­fi­dent we will fill them.”

Satur­day’s kick off is 4pm.

An­thony Mitchell.

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