Comets show an early fiery tail

THE Queensland Cup is six weeks from kick-off, but the Central Queensland Comets are already showing signs of improvement this season.

In the space of 48 hours, the Comets doubled their 2005 win tally with two promising trial victories in Gladstone and Springsure at the weekend.

The Comets overpowered a combined Central Highlands outfit 60-6 in Springsure on Saturday night, which followed the club's commanding 62-10 win over a Gladstone representative side on Friday night.

"It wasn't a bad start to the year, but we've certainly still got plenty of work to do,'' Comets coach Matt Parish said yesterday.

In Springsure, a crowd of around 700 packed the home ground of the Mountain Men to watch big prop Marty Oborne make an impressive start for his new club after joining the Comets from Cronulla during the off-season.

A newlook Andrew Dale, who played the full 80 minutes, also impressed Comets officials, while exciting young winger Mitchell Smith showed glimpses of attacking brilliance outwide.

Parish was also encouraged by the first up performances of the club's other rising stars, Woorabinda youngsters Daniel Roberts and Yoren Major, who starred in the 52-point win over Gladstone.

"A lot of the younger blokes in the squad have got an opportunity in these trials and I thought they took full advantage of it,'' Parish said.

Forward enforcer Peter Penaia, who suffered a knee injury just before halftime against the Highlands, was the only injury casualty.

However, Parish was confident the former strongest man in league winner would be available for selection for this weekend's clash against Manly.

The Comets host last year's NRL finalists at Rockhampton's Browne Park on Saturday night.

Parish is expected to name a 22-man squad tomorrow with the omitted players to return to their clubs for the Rockhampton Leagues Club PreSeason Challenge, also starting on Saturday.

Manly coach Des Hasler will announce his Rockhampton touring squad today.

Parish said there was still plenty of competition for spots ahead of the club's Queensland Cup season opener against Easts Tigers in Brisbane on March 11.

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