Skipper ends final home game on optimistic note
RETIRING Townsville Blackhawks skipper Anthony Mitchell says his team’s season can still reach great heights despite suffering a bittersweet home ground farewell on Saturday.
The former Cowboys, Roosters and Parramatta player played his last home game for the Blackhawks, which ended in a 24- 16 defeat at the hands of PNG Hunters.
Mi t c h e l l ( p i c t u r e d ) again provided much of the goforward in the Blackhawks’ late game surge, but the effort was in vain after Townsville failed to find the killer blow.
Mitchell and fellow inaugural Blackhawks player Michael Parker- Walshe, who is also retiring at season’s end, were led out on to Jack Manski Oval with a police escort and played their hearts out in the bruising Queensland Cup classic.
They couldn’t get the fairytale farewell against the ladder leading Hunters, but Mitchell said his three seasons at the Blackhawks would hold fond memories.
“It’s going to be hard because we have such a great supporter base here in Townsville and they really do get be- hind us win, lose or draw,” he said.
“It’s the reason why we’re a successful club.
“It’s something that I’ll miss, the whole battle of it all, but waking up tomorrow feeling like a bus has hit me is something I won’t miss.”
The Blackhawks are likely to make the top six and sneak into finals despite Saturday’s loss, although winning against Sunshine Coast in a fortnight will be crucial to sealing that spot, and finishing perhaps as high as fifth.
The higher the Blackhawks finish, the more likely their prospects of avoiding a potential visit to Port Moresby, although Mitchell believes the Blackhawks still can beat PNG.
“I think so. We were there for big periods of the game,” he said. “It was just little lapses that you can’t give teams like that, they compete hard for the 80 minutes and unfortunately we didn’t in little spots.”