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THEY might up being called Redcliffe's own version of "The Three Musketeers". Ryan Cullen, Shannon Fish and Gerard Parle joined the Dolphins in the off-season from fellow Queensland Cup club Central Comets.
Ironically, the trio was instrumental in the Comets' shock victory over Redcliffe at Dolphin Oval last season, a defeat which ultimately helped sink the home side's hopes for a semi-final spot.
Fullback Cullen, hooker/lock Fish and backrower Parle have shown their qualities at training already with all three named in the opening trial against premiers Burleigh Bears.
"The three boys from Rocky have been training well and will be in contention for Premier League," coach Anthony Griffin said. The Redcliffe Leagues News caught up with Parle and Cullen last month.
Born and bred in Rockhampton, Parle could have easily ended up playing Sheffield Shield cricket for the state. As a youngster, he came to Brisbane to try his luck at Norths, one of the capital's cricket powerhouses."When I first finished school I wanted to try my luck at cricket, even though league had always been my number one sport," Parle said. "I wanted to give cricket a go and played second grade at Norths. A lot of the guys I played with like James Hopes, Nathan Hauritz and Brendan Nash ended up playing for Queensland." A legspinner, Parle returned home to Rocky to concentrate on league with the Comets for the past season and a half. "The two sports overlap too much and I had to make a choice," the 24-year-old said. "I'm glad to have come to Brisbane. You can see the winning culture at this club, it's so professional and we have been treated as equals. "We have been reminded about last year's win by the Comets and the side obviously would not have expected to have lost to a country side and by that margin." Parle remembered that fullback Cullen had created havoc that afternoon, scoring three length of the field tries. "I knew that Shannon and Ryan were talking to Redcliffe about joining and I spoke to Hinch, saying that I was coming to Brisbane and it went from there," he said. "I had finished university and I wanted to come down to Brisbane for work."
Parle has landed a teaching job at Padua College at Kedron, a school which plays rugby union but also competes in the large-scale Confraternity Shield rugby league competition. Parle, who feels equally at home at lock or second-row, weighs in at a compact 94 kilograms and shares accommodation with Cullen in the Boondall area.
Cullen carries the best credentials of the trio after spending four seasons with St George. He made that club's Jersey Flegg side before injuries interrupted his Sydney career. The 23-year-old also played Premier League with the Saints before returning to Rockhampton midway through 2003. "I find Redcliffe really good as a club and I'm hoping to get a run at fullback, the spot I prefer," he said. "I've got my sights on the top team here. "I remember the day against Redcliffe last season when everything turned to gold. It was just one of those days."
One of the smaller players in Redcliffe's squad at 82 kilograms and five foot six inches in the old measure, Cullen's cause should be helped by the move by Trent Leis to Burleigh and Justin McKay heading to France with Brian Jellick.