Led by five-eighth Cooper Cronk the Melbourne Storm defeated the Rockhampton Leagues Club Central Queensland Comets 58-18 in match one of the Comets Minniecon & Burke Pre-season Challenge at Browne Park on Saturday, February 5.
The Storm come out with a load of intensity and had the Comets back peddling with a great back line move finished off by Josh Tatupu for the first Storm try after just eight minutes.
The first quarter continued in the same fashion with the Storm forwards breaking the line at will gifting tries to crafty half back Marc Brentnall, forward Peter Robinson, winger Jake Webster and experienced five eighth Cooper Cronk.
Greg Inglis converted four of the five tries to see the Storm lead 28-nil at quarter time.
Quarter time did nothing to stem the flow for the Comets with Webster and Cronk crossing for their doubles and Antonio Kaufusi crossing the line with a strong run. Ryan Shortland also finished off some good backline work to cross for a try. Inglis converted three of the four tries to see the Storm lead 50-nil minutes before the break.
Just when it looked like the Comets would go into half time with nothing to show for their effort Chris Fleming darted out of dummy half to go close and then second rower Todd Brandon crashed over from dummy half. Herewini Rangi converted the try as the half time siren went and the Storm went into the break leading 50-6.
The Comets looked like a different side in the second half with some tough defence coming in from David Nixon and Mick Esdale as well as some great charges up the middle from Kane Hardy.
The third quarter was a great one for the Comets with Esdale catching the Storm defence line napping to go over off the back of a great set. Ricky Fuller converted and the Comets trailed by 50-12 with one quarter to go.
The final quarter started much like the first half with a try to Tevita Metuisela. Marc Brentnall grabbed his double with a nice try as well but the Comets had the final say with a try to John Tamanika set up by Mitch Wyatte with four minutes to go. Rangi converted from the sideline to give us our final score of 58-18.
While the score line does not suggest it, the game was very entertaining with plenty of action. Cooper Cronk, Jamie McDonald, Nathan Friend and Antonio Kaufusi were the Storm's most solid. Also a very solid performance at the back by 17-year-old Greg Inglis was a pleasure to watch.
The Comets struggled for combinations early but as the game went on they got better and better. It was also great to see young players such as Adam Geddes, Mitch Wyatte, Mitch Hatfield, Chris Fleming, Mick Esdale and Ben Hinchcliffe get a run and perform strongly.
The Comets best however were Kane Hardy, John Bidgood, David Nixon and replacement half Aoterangi Herangi who showed good hands and kicked a 40-20 late in the second half.
Hardy had by far his best game in Comets colours with his hard work in the off season really showing as he didn't take a backward step against his more fancied rivals.
The Comets Minniecon & Burke Pre Season Challenge will continue on Saturday, February 12 when the Rockhampton Leagues Club Central Comets clash with their NRL affiliate the North Queensland Cowboys at Browne Park with kick off at 8 pm.
New to Harko's Bargain Warehouse this week are "Raging Bull", the 1994 Official Rugby League Yearbook and North Queensland Cowboys collectables. In the coming weeks Harko's Bargain Warehouse will be releasing Central Queensland Comets merchandise. Stay tuned for more.
MELBOURNE STORM 58 Tries: Cooper Cronk (2), Antonio Kaufusi (2), Marc Brentnall (2), Jake Webster (2), Josh Tatupu (1), Peter Robinson (1), Ryan Shortland (1) Goals: Greg Inglis (7) Team: 1. Greg Inglis, 2. Josh Tatupu, 3. Ryan Shortland, 4. Josh Graham, 5. Jake Webster, 6. Cooper Cronk, 7. Marc Brentnall, 8. Brett White, 9. Nathan Friend, 10. Pat Gardner, 11. Tevita Metuisela, 12. Anthony Boyd, 13. Jeremiah Pai Bench: 14. Antonio Kaufusi, 15. Jamie McDonald, 16. Ian Donnelly, 17. Peter Robinson, 18. Col Wilkie, 19. Scott Anderson, 20. Adam Blair, 21. Sikia Manu. defeated CENTRAL COMETS 18 Tries: Todd Brandon, Mick Esdale, John Tamanika Goals: Herewini Rangi (2), Ricky Fuller (1) Team: 1. Jimmy McConachy, 2. Ben Hinchliffe, 3. Ricky Fuller, 4. Matt Hill, 5. Clint Wallace, 6. Jade Wogand, 7. Adam Geddes, 8. Kurt Cawdron, 9.Mick Esdale, 10. Kane Hardy, 11. John Bidgood, 12. Ryan Peters, 13. David Nixon (C) Bench: 14. Damien Siebold, 15. John Faupula, 16. Trent Callaghan, 17. Mitch Wyatte, 18. Aoterangi Herangi, 19. Toby Wallace, 20. Fili Sofa, 21. Herewini Rangi, 22. Chris Fleming, 23. Todd Brandon, 24. John Tamanika, 25. Clint Rothery, 26. Mitch Hatfield.
Venue: Browne Park Date: Sat Feb 5 8:00pm Referee: Shane Spicer Half time: Melbourne 50-6 First Try: Josh Tatupu Match Comments: Curtain Raisers: Fitzroy Gracemere 30 defeated Central Highlands 26 Gladstone Valleys 24 defeated Comets QR Development Squad 14