THE Sunshine Coast Falcons' resurgence was powerfully illustrated yesterday in their 20-13 loss to Intrust Super Cup powerhouse the Townsville Blackhawks in front of a packed Kawana crowd.
Against a side stacked with former and current NRL talent and with a budget big enough to pay the likes of dual-premiership winner and Maroons rep Neville Costigan, the Falcons were up against it yesterday.
But that did not stop the Coast side from dominating the Blackhawks at several stages of the match - and taking a 7-6 lead into half-time against a side that had lost just three matches after 25 rounds.
They extended the margin to 13-6 in the 42nd minute thanks to a Ben Hampton solo try where the classy No.6 beat three defenders in a 40m effort.
How he is not an NRL mainstay is anyone's guess.
But it was not just Hampton who starred for the Coast. Coach Glen Dreger sang the praises of every one of his troops.
"I would like to single one out today but I can't," he said.
"All the boys played really well and I am very proud of their efforts today."
The Falcons had several opportunities to close out the match but were let down by poor execution.
"If you drop the ball as many times as we did against any side in this comp, let alone a team like the Blackhawks, you are going to struggle," Dreger said.
Townsville hit back in the 48th minute to trail 13-12 before scoring again in the 61st minute to lead 16-13.
Another try in the 78th minute put it beyond doubt.
"We had some opportunities but I can't fault the guys and they tried really hard, which was pleasing," Dreger said.
The Falcons have finished the season strongly to win four of their past six matches, giving them seven victories for the year - a huge improvement considering the side won just the single match in 2014.
If the club's improvement in 2015 is anything to go by, Falcons fans should be very optimistic about their team's chances of featuring in the finals in 2016.
"We wanted to make the finals this year and haven't done that, but it is coming together," Dreger said.
"It has taken time with the Melbourne guys coming up ... but they are all a great bunch of blokes and are all enjoying each other's company."
The Falcons are away to Ipswich next week in their final match of the year.
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