Hunters shut down Black­hawk at­tacks

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

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.”

POW­ERED UP: Townsville Black­hawks util­ity Kier­ran Mosley looks to take down PNG Hunters star Wat­son Boas at Jack Man­ski Oval on Satur­day. Pic­ture: WES­LEY MONTS

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