It was a nine tries to five victory for the Townsville & Districts Mendi Blackhawks at Jack Manski Oval on Saturday afternoon, but despite brilliance in attack the home side still showed some lapses in defense that allowed their opposition back into the game.
Jahrome Hughes was the first to score in the corner just minutes into the first half and he continued his outstanding form throughout the match providing try assists and line breaks left right and centre to help his side along to a twenty point victory.
A trio of Mendi Blakchawks tries were quick to follow the first with Kyle Laybutt, Ant Mitchell, Glenn Hall and crossing the line to take a 22-0 lead.
However the home side began to show signs of lapses in concentration towards the end of the first half and the Magpies capitalized, racking up three quick tries in the ten minutes prior to half time including two to Cameron Booth.
The 22-14 half time score did not accurately indicate how dominant the Mendi Blackhawks had been in the beginning of the match as the Magpies attack pegged back the lead to just eight points.
In a similar display to last week the Mendi Blackhawks returned in the second stanza determined to play their kind of football, which meant denying their opposition a chance to score whilst also putting on an exciting attacking display.
It was a welcome return to form for lighting fast winger Jonathon Reuben who showed no signs of the leg injuries that plagued him in season 2015 as he collected a perfectly delivered Hughes pass to run 85 metres to score.
A few minutes later Rhyse Martin ran an excellent line off a Sam Foster short ball to take the score to 32-14. Samsen O’Neill didn’t want to be left out of the scorebooks and he got his chance out wide just minutes later scoring in the corner to extend the lead by another four points.
Coach Krisitian Woolf’s tactic of bringing on agile hooker Nathan Norford mid-way through the second half paid dividends as a fresh Norford burst through the Magpies defensive line to put Delousie Hoeter over the line. Laybutt slotted a tricky sideline conversion to take the score to 42-14 with 18 minutes left in the game.
Speedster Reuben wasn’t done for the day as he pounced on an intercept in the 69th minute to race the length of the field to score his second try for the match racking up the most metres for the home side and extending the lead to 46-14.
The Magpies refused to give up and much as they did in the dying stages of the first half they mounted a comeback of sorts including their own intercept try to Jonathon Kent and the final try of the match to Jamayne Isaako in the last minute of the match to take the final score to 46-26.
“It was great to score a strong win against a dangerous opposition. In patches we played the best we have this year, our improvement will come as we find more consistency in the game.”
“This week will present another strong challenge against a desperate and dangerous Wynnum and I am looking forward to us continuing to improve and get closer to reaching our full potential as a team.” Coach Woolf said following the match.
The Cryil Connell Cup and Mal Meninga Cup squads were also victorious on game day. Giving the local crowd another clean sweep to enjoy at Jack Manski Oval.
The Townsville Blackhawks Cyril Connell Cup side survived a late scare from Mackay Cutters to win by two points 30-28 after leading 24-0 at half time. The side are currently in second place on the ladder.
The Townsville Blackhawks Mal Meninga Cup side were again dominant in an outstanding 50-8 display over the Mackay Cutters to also put themselves in second place on the ladder.