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A DREAM start quickly turned to a nightmare for the Central Comets on Sunday, as Redcliffe recovered from a 24-0 deficit to win 38-30 in their first appearance of the season at Dolphin Oval.
Fresh from beating Burleigh at Browne Park, Central looked set to record back-to-back wins against the competition?s two most successful clubs.
Yet without top-line forwards Troy Lindsay, Danny Green, Mark Shipway, Clint Frazer and Pat Gardner, Redcliffe produced a lion-hearted effort to rise from the dead.
The Dolphins 38 points came in a deluge, squished between a scoreless opening 25 minutes and a lapse before the final hooter when Central scored again.
Among the players called up by Redcliffe to fill holes were former Central boys Gerard Parle and Shannon Fish. Parle responded by being among the best on ground, while Fish and another ex-Comet, Ryan Cullen, found their way onto the try-scorers? list.
?We spoke about it (being short-handed) early in the week and there was confidence in everyone that came into the side,? noted Redcliffe coach Anthony Griffin.
?I?d like to think we?re strong enough to cover in those situations.?
At the completion of three rounds the Dolphins are now just one of three unbeaten teams, along with Easts and North Queensland. Due to the bye they rank third on the ladder.
Central sits eighth, but has plenty of sides looking over their shoulder after a promising last fortnight.
?The Comets are a very big and physical side,? said Griffin, himself Rockhampton-bred.
?They?re a different kettle of fish to previous seasons. They worked us over at different stages of the game and they are particularly powerful.
?I?d say especially at home they are going to be a hard side to beat.?
Central?s next up assignment is indeed on home turf, with the Wynnum Manly Seagulls travelling to Browne Park next Saturday. Redcliffe faces off against Easts at Langlands Park earlier the same day.
The Dolphins will have Gardner and Richard Russell back from suspension and will monitor Lindsay, Shipway and Green throughout the week.
Greg Bourke is fast closing on Damien Richters for the all-time Queensland Wizard Cup scoring title. He now has 952 points to Richters? 1030.
The anomaly in the situation is Burleigh?s Reggie Cressbrook, who is on 983 points, but is yet to play Wizard Cup this season and will play hist first game in the local Gold Coast Rugby League next week.
REDCLIFFE 38 (Shane Perry 2, Shannon Fish, Ryan Cullen, Alwyn Simpson, Nick Emmett, Greg Bourke tries; Greg Bourke 5 goals) beat CENTRAL 30 (Tyron Haynes 2, Herewini Rangi, Peter Penaia, Scott Porter tries; Scott Porter 5 goals).
This article is courtesy of the QRL for more Queensland Wizard Cup information visit www.qrl.com.au