Comets back in winning orbit
A FIRED-up Peter Penaia has inspired the Central Comets to a groundbreaking Queensland Wizard Cup victory against all odds.
The forward enforcer grabbed man of the match honours in the Comets' stunning 36-22 triumph over the Burleigh Bears at Browne Park on Saturday night ? the club's first win against the competition powerhouse since the Queensland Wizard Cup inception in 1996.
After a week of turmoil following an alcohol-fuelled incident at a Rockhampton Local League game last weekend, Penaia was elevated to the starting line-up and buried his demons with a barnstorming performance.
Accepting the player of the game award after the match, Penaia revealed a secret pact which sparked the emotion-charged win.
"It's been a tough week but we stuck together,'' said Penaia, who still found himself in trouble when he was placed on report by referee Clayton Sharpe for two high shots.
Comets co-captain Denny Lambert, another player at the centre of the club's latest scandal, was equally impressive, scoring a match-winning try in the second half.
Penaia and Lambert, along with suspended prop Marty Oborn, were found guilty on Friday of breaching the club's code of conduct for allegations of drunken and unruly behaviour at Victoria Park last weekend.
Comets coach Matt Parish paid tribute to his players for their role in the club's "finest moment''.
"With the week that we had there's a lot of self-belief in this team,'' Parish said.
Lambert agreed: "It's one of the sweetest wins I've been involved in ? we really wanted this one.''
In front of a disappointing home crowd, it was the Comets first win at Browne Park since their round 22 success against the Young Guns in 2004.
Even former Wests and NSW Origin coach Tommy Raudonikis, who was a keen spectator on Saturday night, liked what he saw.
It was also a night of records for the Comets with local Yeppoon product Jade Wogand bringing up 200 points for the club.