Hunters shut down Blackhawk attacks
THE Townsville Blackhawks have refused to place the blame on Saturday’s 24- 16 defeat to the PNG Hunters on a shock pregame reshuffle.
Inspirational lock Daniel Beasley may miss the rest of the Blackhawks’ season after suffering a pre- game groin injury during warm- up, with Jordan Kenworthy thrown into Beasley’s place and Ross Bella put on the bench just minutes before kick- off.
The Blackhawks were hit with an early PNG one- two punch of tries through Stargroth Amean and Watson Boas to trail 12- 0 after 10 minutes, but launched an inspired comeback thanks to impressive tries from Carlin Anderson, Paul Byrnes and Kierran Moseley to lead 16- 12 at halftime.
But not even that effort could come close to the incredible defensive display PNG produced midway through the second half, repelling wave after wave of Townsville attacks.
The Blackhawks had six repeat sets in front of PNG’s tryline, but at no point did the Hunters look like cracking, and then on their first set of possession scored up the other Eliab.
The momentum shifted decisively in PNG’s favour, and Eliab got his second of the afternoon with less than 10 minutes on the clock.
The Blackhawks will have the bye to rest their bruised bodies before taking on Sunshine Coast Falcons in their last regular season game, which will likely decide if they make finals.
Blackhawks coach Kristian Woolf said the extent of Beasley’s injury could be known today.
“He’s our on- field leader for a reason, but that’s not the reason why we lost that game,” he said.
“We had enough oppor- end through Israel tunities and played enough good footy to win that game.
“I thought Jordan Kenworthy did a good job and Ross Bella did well off the bench, and he was out there when we had plenty of ascendancy on the back of some of his good footy.
“It is disruptive, and if we were a little bit better and smarter we would have won that game.”
The result was a bitter pill for the Blackhawks given it was the home ground farewell of Michael Parker- Walshe and Anthony Mitchell.
The pair were instrumental in setting up the Blackhawks’ first- half fightback, and Carlin Anderson was again dangerous at fullback.
But not even their talents could match PNG’s awesome collective effort, which all but secured them the Queensland Cup minor premiership.
Woolf was left lost for words at his team’s inability to find points during their monster run of repeat sets.
“Some of our attack was not going where it needed to be and I can’t understand how we don’t get over the line there a couple of times,” he said.
“But credit to PNG, they really scraped away and made sure we weren’t going to find anything easily and they got down the other end and we didn’t have the same attitude.”