THE Forster Tuncurry Hawks’ hopes for a top two finish were dealt a serious blow after going down 30-6 to a resurgent Port City side at Port Macquarie Regional Stadium on Saturday.
The Hawks were without coach Graeme Jennings due to illness and carried several wounded stars into the match but were well beaten in all areas, with the exception of the fisticuffs that broke out at various stages of the match.
The disorganisation that has plagued their attack in recent weeks continued as they posted just one try from a wobbly cross field kick midway through the first half and must surely be a concern for Jennings as the Hawks enter the final round of matches.
The Hawks looked sluggish at kick off and Port opened the scoring through centre Tristan Morris who took advantage of bad defensive read to post the first try and take a 4-0 lead.
The Breakers scored again soon after in somewhat bizarre fashion with Jesse Gleeson strolling over untouched as much of the Hawks defence flocked to a brawl that had broken out at the play the ball. The old rugby league adage “play whistle” was not adhered to and the try was awarded.
The Hawks took some comfort when the conversion attempt, from former Hawk Luke Ackroyd, rocketed into the upright from directly in front and kept the lead to just 8. As the match got willing the Hawks seemed to rise and were on top for the latter part of the first half but managed just a penalty goal to reduce the lead to 8-2 and an unconverted try to winger Dan Lawton, who picked up the scraps after makeshift Port winger Kris Ward fumbled a cross field kick from halfback Josh McCartney.
Not a great deal of good football was played by either side but the crowd was kept entertained by the willing exchanges that saw sporadic brawls breakout and, with the Haws big names having an off day, the side’s Trojans including back rower Luke Ross and 18-year-old hooker Jesse McCarthy kept the Hawks in the match. Both worked themselves to a standstill and showed no hint of a reverse gear in the fiery stages.
The Hawks again looked sluggish following the halftime interval and a lack of line speed on their own try line allowed Port’s Mitch Fowler to link with fellow bookend Peter Cross for a try under the posts and a14-6 lead.
The poor handling from both sides continued before tensions again spilled over and saw Hawks fullback Des Donnelly sent to the sin bin for his role in fight that also saw Port’s Mitch Fowler dispatched for being third man in.
The Breakers were awarded the penalty and capitalised immediately through lock Josh Osborne who scored under the posts to extend the lead to 20-6. The Hawks were denied their final chance to get back into the match when Kurt Lewis scored only to be called back for a fight that erupted in back play.
The try appeared to come in almost identical fashion as Jesse Gleeson’s first half effort but the officials saw it differently on this occasion, disallowing the try and awarding a penalty to Port.
The Hawks never recovered and two late tries to Mitch Fowler and Russell Gordon saw the final margin reach 30-6. The Hawks have now lost their past three matches against fellow top four opponents and have a lot to work on before their next match against Old Bar in two weeks time.
A DEPLETED Reggies side showed no lack of heart, but with some key personnel missing, were no match for the competition leaders going down 26-12.
Ladies league tag
THE Hawkettes won a tough match 3-1 against their fierce rivals and were the pride of the Hawks fleet on the day.
THE Under 18s did everything but win on Saturday, on top for most of the match but failing to land the killer blow, and were denied victory by a late try and conversion after the bell to go down 18-16 to Camden Haven.