Home Ground: Jack Manski Oval, Kirwan
Coach: Kristian Wolff
Last Year: 1sth – 19 wins – 3 losses – 1 draw
The debut season for the Mendi Blackhawks was easily one of the best for a new club. Mind you, not many new clubs have a significant number of NRL quality players on their books as the direct feeder club to the team that would become the 2015 NRL Premiers.
This year, they will have no excuses as the season returns. They will be fielding one of the strongest teams in the league and will be aiming for both a Grand Final victory and then a win in the NRL State Championship final. After they fell short after a close ISC Final against the Ipswich Jets, they will make the round 2 clash at Ipswich an early measuring point for the new season.
The draw has some challenges contained, like most of the non-Brisbane teams they know they will have some travelling, and the three week tour of Southern Queensland and PNG in the middle of it in round 5 to 7 will test their mettle. In addition, the end of the season sees their last home game two rounds before the first finals. These two stretches may have some impact in the structure of the table for finals.
Round 2 at the Ipswich Jets: Grand Final Rematch and a test for the rebuilding Jets after their success last year cost them some high quality players.
Round 6 at PNG Hunters: This game should be one of the games of the season. The Hunters had the Blackhawks measure last season and are never easy in PNG.
Round 22 at Northern Pride: The Pride were the “Kings of the North” before the advent of the Blackhawks. A number of tight and tough games have already established a great rivalry.