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

IF the big play is on, chances are Car­lin An­der­son will be right in the thick of it.

The Townsville Black­hawks full­back shapes as a key weapon in today’s cru­cial game against the PNG Hunters, which if the Black­hawks win could lead to a top four fin­ish at sea­son’s end, and an all- im­por­tant home fi­nal.

Only a mir­a­cle could see the seventh placed Ip­swich Jets over­take the Black­hawks with two rounds re­main­ing, with the Black­hawks hav­ing a bye in hand.

An­der­son is not about to let the math­e­mat­i­cal cer­tainty of play­ing fi­nals get in his way though, es­pe­cially with his rugby league ca­reer on the rise.

Sign­ing a two- year con­tract with the North Queens­land Cow­boys ear­lier this sea­son, An­der­son is the lead­ing Q Cup points scorer and was yes­ter­day named as the Black­hawks’ nom­i­nee in the an­nual XXXX Peo­ple’s Choice Award.

He has com­pleted al­most ev­ery in­di­vid­ual goal he set out to achieve in 2017 af­ter part­ing ways with the Bron­cos and feeder team Ip­swich last year, but An­der­son is far from fin­ished.

“The goal was to come up and get an NRL deal, and I’ve done that,” An­der­son said.

“But there’s so much more we can achieve this year as a team, and we want that premier­ship.”

An­der­son ( pic­tured) scored the open­ing try against the Hunters in Port Moresby ear­lier this year, but the Black­hawks saw their early lead evap­o­rate in the face of a Hunters’ on­slaught, con­ced­ing seven unan­swered tries.

“We had a talk af­ter­wards about where we were as a team, mainly about the need to be more ac­count­able,” An­der­son said.

“To play them again is a big oc­ca­sion, but all the boys are ready to go.

“It can be in­tim­i­dat­ing play­ing PNG, you look at them and think ‘ who is the winger, who is the for­ward?’

“But th­ese are the games you play footy for.”

The Black­hawks will be out to repli­cate the 24- 20 win they scored over the Hunters in front of a packed Jack Man­ski Oval last year.

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