FORSTER Tuncurry Hawks coach Graeme Jennings admits he hasn’t got the calculator out to do the sums, but has rightly labelled this weekend’s match against Old Bar a must win game.
“If we beat Old Bar this week we make the finals, full stop.”
Jennings hasn’t even considered the outcome should the Hawks lose the match against the Pirates after going down 18-14 to Port City on the weekend. The loss was made even more disappointing by the fact that Port were reduced to 12 men for much of the match after halfback Adrian Daly was sent off for striking Hawks prop Corey Shields mid way through the first half.
The Breakers, who led 6-4 at half time, put the game away with two quick tries to five-eighth Josh Hyde and centre Tristam Morris immediately following half time to take a match-winning 18-4 lead.
Two tries to winger Taylor Kerrison brought the score back to 18-14, but he had an off day with the boot kicking one goal from three attempts. The Hawks, it seems, have forgotten how to finish with centre Tom Dooker and winger Dan Lawton both denied tries at the final hurdle. Dooker was ruled to have dropped the ball over the line and Lawton was called back after touching down with the last pass deemed forward.
“It was as disappointing as some of our other losses,” Jennings said.
“Dooks (Dooker) and Lawto (Lawton) were both disallowed and could of gone either way. We’re not far off where we need to be, I just think in some instances we’re over trying and failing to execute because of it.”
Jennings is also adamant that the Hawks can overcome a horror season beset with injuries and suspensions and defend their premiership come finals time.
“Absolutely,” Jennings said. “If we beat Old Bar this week, we’re in the semis and then it becomes a whole new ball game.”
The Hawks top try-scorer Kurt Lewis will return from suspension this week with boundless energy sure to add spark to the Hawks attack, though Jennings is yet to decide if he will fill his regular centre position or in the 13 jumper he turned in a man-of-match performance last start against Wauchope.
Captain Matt Hill also a potential starter though Jennings admits with his ongoing knee injury he is a week to week proposition. Luckily for the Hawks, other results fell their way over the weekend with an undermanned Taree City suffering an upset loss at the hands of the last placed Wingham Tigers and Old Bar going down to Wauchope.
The Hawks final two games will be against teams below them on the ladder with Old Bar this weekend and Wingham in the final round.
COACH Matt Manning said that he was more proud of his side’s effort than in any of the previous six weeks despite ultimately going down 14-8. The Hawks were made to pay for a low start that conceded points and were unable to retake the lead.
THE Under 18s’ 38-6 win over Port notched a significant milestone securing the side’s second consecutive unbeaten home season.
“I’m not the one who looks over the books but it would have to be some kind of record,” coach Mick Basham said following the win.
Ladies league tag
The Hawks ground out a tough 2-1 victory over their fiercest rivals on the weekend in a match with finals intensity. The victory will mean the Hawkettes take a psychological advantage into the finals arena where they look a strong chance of defending their premiership.