12 Sep 2015

Sport: Townsville Blackhawks target Hunters scalp

11:30 am on 12 September 2015

Townsville Blackhawks coach Kristian Woolf believes his team has what it takes to beat the Papua New Guinea Hunters.

Tonga rugby league coach Kristian Woolf.

Tonga rugby league coach Kristian Woolf. Photo: Townsville Blackhawks

The Blackhawks qualified as minor premiers in their debut season in the Queensland Cup, earning home advantage for tonight's major semi final.

The newcomers lost just three games in the regular season but two of those were against the Hunters.

Kristian Woolf is confident it can be third time lucky.

KRISTIAN WOOLF: They're the only team to have beaten us at home so far. I thought we were a little bit off the mark in terms of how we played there and we were certainly a little bit unsettled in terms of the squad at that stage - just with some injuries and it was around our Origin period. Over in Kokopo I thought was a much better game from both teams. We ended up losing by two points on a penalty and I thought we came away with that game knowing that we'd done enough to win it and knowing that we had certainly matched up physically and, if anything, came over the top of the Hunters at the back-end of the game so I think it certainly gives us a fair blueprint as to how we can win the next time around.

He also believes his team has what it takes to beat the Papua New Guinea Hunters.

He says they will need to control the forward pack and ruck area if they're to have any chance of coming away with a win.

KRISTIAN WOOLF: I've certainly seen PNG as a team that we need to beat if we're going to be successful. To beat PNG you've got to be willing to match them physically and they play a very tough and aggressive style of footy and I think we've got a pack that can match them there and can stand up to that and go well against it as well. That's certainly going to make for a great contest - a great spectacle and it's a game we're really looking forward to and there's a hell of a lot on the line too, with the winner going straight through to the grand final.

The winner will qualify directly for the grand final at Suncorp Stadium, with the losers to host Ipswich Jets or Easts Tigers in the qualifying final.

Papua New Guinea Hunters coach Michael Marum says their 17-match unbeaten run in the Queensland Cup counts for nothing in the playoffs.

The PNG side haven't lost since early April and beat the Blackhawks both home and away during the regular season.

Michael Marum says they're used to carrying the hopes of Papua New Guinea on their shoulders but know a repeat performance won't be easy.

MICHAEL MARUM: [It's a] different ball-game, finals football, so we've made it clear to all the players during training so we're expecting a much tougher game from Blackhawks - we expect them to lift their game. [We need to get] things right - all our basics in our defensive structure and also when we attack so it's going to be a tough game.

The losing team will host the winner of tomorrow's minor semi final between the Ipswich Jets and Easts Tigers for the remaining grand final berth.

PNG Hunters coach Michael Marum.

PNG Hunters coach Michael Marum. Photo: Supplied