A first-half double from noted try scorer Jonathon Reuben helped the Townsville Blackhawks to a comfortable win over the in-form Norths Devils this afternoon at Jack Manski Oval.
Their Round 7 match-up was building as a key test for both teams, with the Blackhawks looking to perform like a team who should be at the top of the table, while the Devils were hoping to maintain their share of the lead at the top of the Intrust Super Cup ladder.
This match also saw the return to the field of North Queensland Cowboys forward Shaun Fensom after he was given the green light earlier this week to play after his recovery from a broken leg in last year’s NRL grand final.
Cowboys physiotherapist Steve Sartori told NRL.com Fensom’s recovery had been a source of inspiration to his fellow players.
The hard-working forward played just under 40 minutes; making his first appearance in the 25th minute of the match and he impressed local media with his showing, with Channel 7 calling it a “strong return”.
Earlier in the match, the home side got off to a dream start when Shaun Hudson opened the scoring in the second minute.
Only five minutes later, Rueben was in for his first, and with a successful conversion from Zach Clay, the Blackhawks were out to a 10-0 lead and were beating the clock.
However, Norths hit back soon after with young centre Gehamat Shibasaki going over, but that resistance was short-lived as Rueben picked up his second in the 22nd minute.
Scores though were a respectable 16-10 to Townsville at halftime, with Paul Ulberg nabbing his third try of the season in the 30th minute of the match.
It was a flurry of points to open the second half, with all three tries coining within a 10-minute period. Jack Ahearn had lifted Norths hopes when he found his way over, but quick fire responses from Levi Dodd and skipper Jake Marketo put thoughts of a comeback to bed put the Blackhawks on their way to their fourth win of the season.
Next week, the Devils will travel to Suzuki Stadium, Langlands Park to face the Tigers, while Townsville will be at home to a Souths Logan outfit who are in ominous form after defeating the PNG Hunters in Port Moresby.
TOWNSVILLE BLACKHAWKS 30 (Jonathon Reuben 2, Shaun Hudson, Levi Dodd, Jake Marketo tries; Zach Clay 5 goals) def NORTHS DEVILS 16 (Gehamat Shibasaki, Paul Ulberg, Jack Ahearn tries; Todd Murphy 2 goals) at Jack Manski Oval.