11 July, 2021
Blackhawks take the honours in the Cairns Townsville local derby.
As a fitting conclusion to NAIDOC Week, the FNQ Local Derby, Northern Pride hosted The Townsville Blackhawks at Barlow Park in Cairns Saturday night.
When these team met in round 4 in Townsville the Northern Pride came away with the spoils after a last-minute try sealed the victory for the visitors.
Roll forward to Round 13 and the score line was identical, 30 to 26 with the visitors once again taking the two competition points.
In an evening rich in heritage and feeling, the Northern Pride were rocked as the Blackhawks opened their account for the night with an early try after five minutes to front rower Sam Hoare.
Although the Pride levelled up 5 minutes later the Blackhawks controlled the pace and tempo crossing the line for a second time after 20 minutes of play to take a strong lead, 12 to 6.
The faster and fitter Blackhawks dominated the centre of the field, making metres at will and placing the Pride on the back foot regularly.
The Blackhawks continued to control the play and crossed for their third try after second rower Patrick Kaufusi broke the defence and picked up his fourth try for the season.
Just before half time, Northern Pride centre Grant Anderson restored some respectability to the Northern Pride’s score crossing to bring the margin back to 8.
The Northern Pride returned with a stirring start to the second half. Bustling runs by Northern Pride’s bench forward Paea Pua drove the Pride into attack and rocked the Blackhawks defence.
Pride’s half Matt Eagan missed an opportunity to cross after a 60 metre break down field only to lose the ball metres from the line. The Northern Pride were showing their more fancied Townsville rivals they were not giving up.
Not to be denied, the Blackhawks stepped up a cog, when centre, Bacho Salam fed the perfect dummy to get break 40 metres out before stepping an unusually quiet Jayden Corrigan to cross and put the Blackhawks up by 12. Shaun Nona had a great night with the boot, converting all five tries.
The Pride rallied in attack and continued to drive the ball down field with every set of 6. Pride’s Denzel King continuing to impress, crossing the line to the side of the posts after running from dummy half.
The game was still in the balance, with bustling runs as standard for Paea Pua placing the Blackhawks defence under pressure constantly.
Pua crossed the line but fed the ball back to a waiting Lata Fakalelu to dive across and place the game in the balance. 30 to 26.
The final 10 minutes was entertaining for the crowd as the match hung in the balance. The Pride rallied but could not cross the line as the Blackhawks hung on to take the points and continue their domination over the Northern Pride in Cairns.
The Pride are yet to record a home ground win at Barlow Park against their Townsville rivals.
After the game a very frank Northern Pride Coach Ty Williams was feeling flat after another game had got away from his team.
“I can't recall the last time we shot down the blocks… We need to minimise the times where we are poor, at the moment when we are good, we are good for 15 minutes, then when we fall off for another 15 minutes we very bad, and the gap difference is too much.”
Next week the pride playing the PNG Hunters in Atherton, Whilst the Townsville Blackhawks play Souths Magpies at Charlie Wehlow Oval in Richmond.