The silky skills that propelled Dale Shearer to NRL and State of Origin glory were on show last Saturday when he starred in an under-strength Coolum team in its 34-16 win over Caboolture at Ronnie Cargill Oval.
Playing in the unaccustomed position of half-back, the veteran of 20 tests for Australia and 26 games for Queensland showed glimpses of his ability of old as he guided the Colts around the park, setting up breaks and tries with long Wally Lewis-like cutout passes.
It only took two minutes for Shearer to show the large Coolum crowd that he still has what it takes.
He used strength and agility to make a break from inside his own 20-metre line before drawing the fullback to send representative hooker Corey Gray on a 60-metre sprint to score under the posts.
Five-eight Pat Burns and centres Brad Cummings and Dave Simpson had a field day running off Shearer’s bullet-like precision passes as they cut Caboolture to shreds in the first half.
Tries to Cummins, Gray, Shane Hartshorne and Shane Catlin took Coolum to a 22-6 half-time lead.
In the second half, Coolum’s adventurous attempts to score at every opportunity led to several errors in their half, with Caboolture capitalising and getting close to the home team at 22-16.
But the game was put out of reach when Shearer broke free and showed his blistering trademark acceleration to score under the posts.
From the next set, Gray scored his second try with a great run from dummy half, which saw him burst down the left wing to streak 50 metres to score under the posts again.
The final score was 34-16, with tries to Gray (2), Shearer, Hartshorne, Cummins and Catlin. Shearer kicked five conversions.
But Shearer’s day was not done. Immediately after his game, the Colts under-18 side, which he coaches, ran on to play Maroochydore.
Coolum was one of the premiership favourites but has been decimated in recent weeks by representative commitments and languishes near the bottom of the table.
But last Saturday the Colts, welcomed the return of five Wide Bay players and for the first time this season showed their true colours.
Coolum easily accounted for third-placed Maroochydore, running out winners 24-6.
Coolum took an 18-0 lead into half-time and showed great defensive commitment after the break when Maroochydore put the Colts under pressure with excellent sixth tackle options, getting several repeat sets of six.
Eventually Coolum’s poor ball control and the lack of possession saw Maroochydore score.
But the win was sealed by Zeke Forster’s third try when, for the second time in the game, he split the Maroochydore defence wide open before chipping over the fullback’s head and winning the race to the ball.
In other Colts news, Luke Burns made his representative debut for the Sunshine Coast A grade side on Saturday.
Burns, who was selected for the Wide Bay A Grade team last week, was a late inclusion in the Falcons A Grade team which proved too strong for the Toowoomba Clydesdales at Caboolture on Saturday, running out winners 32-16.
Though Burns was pleased with his performance for the Falcons, he was very happy when told the Colts had won without him.