CQ breeding ground for rivals

With Aaron Kelly

OVER the years, Central Queensland has become a great nursery for the NRL, but it is fast growing into a breeding ground for rival clubs in the Queensland Cup.

It is that time of the season where the Comets are often criticised for their annual revolving door of player movements.

We hear excuses like ? players are still building combinations, we're lacking cohesion and give us time.

Throughout the state league are scattered numerous quality players from CQ strongholds such as Rockhampton, Gladstone and the Central Highlands.

At an NRL level, CQ is well represented by the likes of Matt Sing, Rhys Wesser, PJ Marsh and Tony Martin.

With the Cowboys and Broncos approximately eight hours' drive in either direction and the lure of the coastal lifestyle, playing talent begins to gravitate away.

There has been 17 former CQ or Comets players hitting the field in this year's Queensland Cup for rival clubs ? 12 are born and bred.

Burleigh's Reggie Cressbrook is a prime example.

The "Woorabinda Whiz'' has scored 819 points in a distinguished Queensland Cup career, yet he has scored none of them for the region with which he is best associated.

ABC commentators David Wright and Warren Boland raised an interesting point on Saturday.

The Comets are one of the Queensland Cup's regional clubs, with Rockhampton's crowds the best in the competition.

However, since the club's inception in the Queensland Cup in 1996, CQ's best finish was sixth in 1997 ? the club's only finals appearance.

Wright raised the question about the QRL providing the Comets with some sort of "support fund'' to keep locally based players at the club.

The concept would definitely help the club keep CQ talent at their disposal, rather than training them up and seeing them join the mass exodus leaving Browne Park.

But it would only eventuate if the Comets are prepared to give the next Marsh or Wesser a go.

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