Comets turn to a shooting star

IF THE Central Comets are looking for a home-grown hero to lead them in 2006, they may have found the right man for the job in Mackay on Saturday night.

Rockhampton product Andrew Dale once again proved a hit in the Comets' nail-biting 20-14 trial loss to the North Queensland Young Guns.

In the curtain-raiser to the sell-out Cowboys and South Syd- ney NRL trial, the Comets were overpowered by a near fullstrength Young Guns outfit, which included Queensland State of Origin enforcer Carl Webb and fellow NRL stars Rod Jensen and Steve Southern.

The Comets pushed the reigning Queensland Wizard Cup pre- miers, with tries to Odell Manuel, Jade Wogand and Jimmy McConachy giving last year's wooden spooners a 14-4 halftime lead.

With 23-year-old Dale at his destructive best, the Comets continued to match the Young Guns in the second half before Charles Vis scored the match-winning try for North Queensland in the 76th minute.

"We lost our way a bit in the second half with penalties and discipline,'' Dale said.

"We wanted to see where we were at and it was good considering we were the wooden spooners last year.''

The Comets launch their 2006 campaign against the Easts Tigers at Brisbane's Langlands Park on March 11.

YOUNG GUNS 20 (Charles Vis, Rod Jensen, Jamie Frizzo, Steve Southern tries, Scott Smith, Mark Henry goal) d COMETS 14 (Odell Manuel, Jade Wogand, Jim McConachy tries, Scott Porter goal).

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