Hunters go down 26-12 to Blackhawks in qualifying final

Four tries to Zac Santo gave the Townsville Blackhawks their ticket to the grand final after beating the SP PNG Hunters 26-12 in the qualifying final at the Jack Manski Oval tonight.

The Blackhawks came out firing in the second half and knew who to go putting Zac Santo away to dash 30 metres to beat fullback Stargroth Amean to score his third try for the game.

Robert Lui’s conversion attempt was nowhere near the post, missing to put his side in front at 18-6.

With 25 minutes to go, the Hunters replied immediately when Ase Boas threw an inside ball to Adam Korave who stepped right and left and wrestled his way over the line to ground the ball.

Utility Noel Zemming added the extra two points to narrow the deficit to six points.

This lifted the Hunters spirits as they relentlessly attacked the Blackhawks line.

But the Blackhawks weathered the storm and went back on the attack.

A bomb 30 metres out by Michael Parker-Walshe saw Amean drop the ball and allow Santo to pick up and score his fourth.

Lui was off target missing his kick from the side setting up a 10 point lead with 14 minutes on the clock.

The Blackhawks put the icing on the cake with a try to Mosese Pangai.

The kicking woes continued for the Blackhawks but it made no difference as they ran down the last four minutes of play to beat the Hunters for the first time this season.

Not all hope is lost for the Hunters who will next week play the winner of the Ipswich Jets and Easts Tigers match.

The winner will meet the Blackhawks in the grand final.

Troy Taule