The return of Comets utility Dallas Williams kicked the QR Comets Development Squad into gear in the sides 46-16 victory of a spirited Fitzroy-Gracemere Sharks A-grade side at Browne Park on Saturday, February 26 in the final round of the Minniecon & Burke Comets Pre-Season Challenge.
The match was an arm wrestle for the first thirty minutes with some bruising defence being dished out by both sides.
The Development Squad managed to score two tries though in the first quarter, one to centre Chris Conway and the other to crafty hooker Ben Curran. Conway converted both and the Development squad led 12-nil at the first break.
Sharks coach Rex Gamble fired his boys up in the break with the Sharks scoring in the opening minutes. Winger Jeff Tull showed a great turn of speed and strength to crash over in the corner to bring the score-line back to 12-4 in the Development Squads favor.
Then off the bench returning from a lengthy stint on the side lines through a knee injury 'D-Mac' Dallas Williams entered the fray and his impact was immediately felt with Williams chasing through a great grubber and going over for a try.
Moments later the Development Squad scored another try to go into the half time break 20-4 in front.
Both sides looked good in the first half with the Development Squad's superior fitness showing however the Sharks really put in a big effort for their first hit out of 2005.
Once again another great talk from coach Gamble at the main break seen the Sharks fly out of the blocks in the second half.
Classy winger Roland Lea grabbed a double in the space of five minutes and with 20 minutes to go on the clock the Fitzroy-Gracemere Sharks had reduced the Development Squads lead to eight.
The wraith of Williams was once again felt by the Sharks though with the lock forward breaking the Shark's line up the middle and setting up a beautiful try for half Spensor Parsons. Williams converted and the Development Squad were up 26-12 with 25 minutes to go.
Five minutes later Williams grabbed himself a double with a great 40 metre try where he did it all himself. The try was converted and the Development Squad led 32-12.
The Sharks put up huge resistance in the final twenty however were overcome by a side with more match fitness conceding tries to Malcom Darkin, Marty Hatfield and a second to Spensor Parsons.
However the Sharks did have the final say when Rick Allen went over for a great try as the full time siren sounded. The match finished 46-16 in the Development Squad's favor but was far closer then the score suggested.
The Development Squads best by far were Dallas Williams and Ben Curran while Marty Hatfield was very strong at fullback all match.
The Sharks can take a lot of positives out of this loss with Josh Binney, Jim Dockery, John Lorraway and Jeff Cranston all having good matches. Both wingers in Roland Lea and Jeff Tull were also impressive.
QR COMETS DEVELOPMENT SQUAD 46 Tries: D.Williams 2, S.Parsons 2, C.Conway, B.Curran, K.Dickson, M.Darkin, M.Hatfield Goals: C.Conway 2, T.Beaumont 2, D.Williams 1 defeated FITZROY-GRACEMERE SHARKS A-GRADE 16 Tries: R.Lea 2, J.Tull, R.Allen
Venue: Browne Park Date: Sat Feb 26 6:00pm Referee: Russell Thompson Half time: Development Squad 20-4 First Try: C.Conway (Development Squad) Harko's Points: 3-D.Williams(Development Squad) 2-B.Curran(Development Squad) 1-J.Tull(Sharks)
Curtain Raisers: Under 15s - Emerald Tigers 40 defeated Gladstone Brothers 18 QR Comets Development Squad 46 defeated Fitzroy-Gracemere Sharks A-grade 16