The Dolphins emphatically took their place in the NRL this afternoon, showing everyone including league heavy-weights the Roosters they have earnt the right to be there.
In front of a crowd of 32,177 people at Suncorp Stadium, the Dolphins thrilled fans with a 28-18 win over their much-fancied rivals.
See the photo gallery at the end of this story.
They proved they are no easy-beats, with the squad’s experienced players leading from the front and calming the nerves of their younger teammates.
The side made a steady, composed start but the Roosters scored first in the 10th minute. About five minutes later The Hammer, Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, made Dolphins’ history when he scored the first try for the club at NRL level.
The Roosters scored again in the 18th minute before the Dolphins’ workhorse Mark Nicholls crossed in the 35th minute to the crowd’s delight. A conversion by Jamayne Isaako levelled the scores going into half time.
The Dolphins’ defence, led by inaugural Artie Beetson Legacy Medal recipient Felise Kaufusi forced too many errors from the Roosters.
Dolphins’ winger Jamayne Isaako made a triumphant debut for his new club, scoring twice in the second half and successfully kicking four conversions.
Also impressive were the forward pack and Connolly Lemuelu who scored in the 46th minute.
The crowd enjoyed every minute, sending the ‘Redcliffe’ cry up on numerous occasions and ‘getting their phins up’.
Proud day for Dolphins
Coach Wayne Bennett said it was a proud day filled with emotion.
“I was pretty proud of everything they did. Tough game of footy and they competed,” he said.
“It was special for a lot of reasons today – certainly him (Arthur Beetson), the club and the chance they took about being in the NRL and having 30,000+ people here today. It’s such a great occasion. There’s so many winners to me. The biggest winner today is the game.”
He said Kaufusi’s defensive effort was a turning point.
“It was a pretty influential performance by him. He got the Arthur Beetson medal and I’m sure he’s pretty proud of himself,” he said.
Bennett said today’s win had the same hallmarks of the Broncos’ debut in 1988, when they beat Manly.
“No-one gave us a chance, no-one gave us a chance much today. One of the most difficult things is to get that first win because it just settles everything down,” he said.
Bennett said experienced players – the Bromwich brothers and Kaufusi - were signed because he knew what they would bring to the side.
“We all saw that out there today and that’s what we’ll build our foundations on. You can’t build the foundations on young men that don’t have a lot of football behind them. It just doesn’t work that way,” he said.
Captain Jesse Bromwich said it was a special day in his career.
“It’s definitely special for different reasons. Before the game, just talking to the chairman and some of the staff around the place – what it meant to them. To go out and perform the way we performed really made some of them proud … grown men with tears in their eyes. It was pretty special,” he said.
Check out the photo gallery – click through
Photos: Dominika Lis
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