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Hunters and Blackhawks end in a tie

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The PNG Hunters and Townsville Blackhawks fought off a very entertaining wet-weather showdown in the league round Harvey Norman Women, ending in a 23-23 draw at the Bycroft Oval.

The Visitor was the quickest to adapt to the dire situation, getting through the first set and slowly winning the battle for territory thanks to a fifth tackle option and Hunter’s own poor discipline.

The Blackhawks persisted in shifting it right through Robert Louie on a good ball, but the Hunter defense held up to repeatedly chase them off in the first stage.

A clever short pass from the Hunter’s Line dummy half finally cracked the home side when Kurikef Finnefeyaki crashed out more than 10 minutes into the game.

The Blackhawks were caught back-to-back when Tom Chester crossed shortly afterward and fell right next to the post for a pinpoint offensive kick. Both the Hunters and Blackhawks players went up for the ball, but Chester went down with it, crashed into the uprights, bounced off the ground and scored.

Hunter quickly responded, marching upfield behind the Blackhawks’ penalty and moving into position for the first shot at the Townsville line. A smooth left-sided shift ended with center Benjicott punishing the sliding defense with a big left-footed step to score Hunter’s first point.

The Blackhawks’ lead quickly returned to ten when Chester crossed for the second time just minutes later. A clever shift late in the count caught Hunter’s edge defense retreating for kicks, and Chester benefited with some great support plays, and he scored an early double.

Desperate to get back into the game, Hunter applied kick pressure to quickly get the offense he needed, building up the pressure when Judah Limbu deftly forced a dropout with his left foot. However, the visitors held the line convincingly, holding off Keven Apo in-goal and finally forcing an error at line speed.

However, Hunter was not denied for long.

Embracing the grind and improving his discipline, Hunter returned to Upfield to score another shot at the Townsville line, and this time it paid off.

A long left shift through Limbu and Kitron Raka again found Benj Cotto in space and seized his chance again. Cotto sized up the opposing player and used his footwork to pull in the opposing winger, but a stunning off-road found Solo Wayne pristine in the corner.

As a result, the Blackhawks started the break with a 16-12 lead.

Both sides came out intentionally in the second half, but it was Hunter’s cleverness and execution that led to the next point point.

A good yard kick from Kingstimer Paraia pinned the Blackhawks in their own corner and the defensive pressure applied by Hunter soon caused an error.

On the next possession, thanks to work from Wesser Tenza’s dummy half, Hunter prepared for another shift to the left after compressing the center. Strike center Cotto looked like the target again, but Limbu played a nice variation to put Raka back down and break through the defense to score.

Not to be undone by his half-partner, Rimbu was the next Hunter to set things up in Boots when he fired spiral bombs into the sky.

Finding the winning formula on the momentum, Hunter now searched for a good ball to the left with a smooth backline shift, ending with Cotto sliding to second.

As the game settled into the grind, points dried up and field position became critical.

The Hunters and Blackhawks both traded sets, kicking into the corner with neither side appearing to break until a penalty gave the Blackhawks a new set at PNG’s line.

The visitors searched the left in great form through Jake Burke and Chester, who were 5-8, and threatened to break the line, but there was only a desperate cover defense to drag down the Blackhawks fullback. did. However, the damage was inflicted on PNG’s defensive system, and Jamon Moore took advantage of this, crashing out of dummy-half on his next tackle.

The score was pegged at 22-22 and the stakes were higher as the game entered the final ten minutes.

With less than three minutes remaining, it was the Blackhawks’ 5/8 Burke who found himself in position for a shot at a field goal.

Burke hit it sweet to give the Blackhawks the lead, but Hunter’s 5/8 Kingstimer Pariah responded in PNG’s next set and tried head-on to tie things together when the sirens sounded. The visitor’s celebration was short-lived when slotted the .

The draw result was a positive one for the Hunters, who were impressed with their intentions and execution at key moments, but the Blackhawks threatened the Top 8 and lamented their chances of reaching the finals.

Comment from coach

PNG Hunters head coach Matt Church was pleased with his side’s reaction after the disappointing result against the Sunshine Coast.

“Since last week, it has been really nice to see how we have responded and improved in key areas,” Church said.

“Our kicking game was a lot better today and we were able to put pressure on them and create scoring chances.”

Church also paid tribute to Hunter’s resilience and execution under pressure.

“It was really gratifying to finally run that set and tie the game on our only attempt,” Church said.

“We haven’t been as consistent this season, but that field goal is a great example of how far we’ve come as a playing group this year. Stick with the system, execute the game plan and you’ll be fine. You can compete with anyone on the day.”

The Hunters will face the Burleigh Bears in Round 19.

The Blackhawks will face the Tweed Seagulls.