Jamayne Isaako says his best performances on the footy field were under coach Wayne Bennett and he’s hoping his former mentor can help him find good form on the wing now that he’s arrived at the Dolphins.
Isaako sat down with Moreton Daily yesterday, after a sponsorship announcement appearance at the club and his fourth preseason training session.
He’s feeling good and ready to put in the hard yards, so he’s in the best shape to claim his position of choice on the wing.
“It’s nice to get back into things after having a long time in the offseason off. I’m happy to be here and certainly very grateful after the year I had last year,” Isaako says.
“Towards the back end of last year, not knowing where I was going to go and what I was going to do after my contact with the Broncos ... (and then) obviously, the opportunity to finish the year off at the Titans. I find myself lucky to be here, in a way.
“My main goal (before round one) is to knuckle down and have a really good preseason, train as best as I can and hopefully try to earn a spot come round one against the Roosters.”
After debuting with the Broncos in 2017, Isaako had a breakout season in 2018 but struggled to find form the following year. He only played 10 games for the club in 2020, following the death of his father and COVID-19 quarantine requirements which meant he couldn’t play for the second half of the season.
He signed with the Dolphins in December 2021 and in March 2022, he was granted an early release from the Broncos and played out the remainder of the NRL season with the Titans.
The 26-year-old says playing Hostplus Cup with Tweed Seagulls, while with the Titans, rekindled his love for the game.
“I wasn’t really happy and I think going back to Q Cup made me realise, one: that playing on the wing was my best position; and two: getting back to playing good footy with my mates and having a good group of people around me at the Tweed Seagulls really helped,” he explains.
So, how is he hoping to develop his game at the Dolphins under Wayne Bennett?
“Being coached by Wayne in 2016, 17 and 18 … I found my confidence with him playing on the wing and he boosted that as well … being my coach, giving me tips and things to work on and helping me build my game,” he recalls.
“When the opportunity came up to come here and to be coached by him again, it was something I really jumped at. I obviously wanted to be coached by him again, hopefully he can get me back to the form I was playing in 2018. It was the highlight and the best of my career.
“What helped the most is he made me focus on one position, whereas the last couple of years I’ve been floating in between fullback and wing, not knowing where I stood.
“I haven’t had the conversation with him yet but I know that, coming to this club, I was signed to come here as a winger and wherever I can help, filling in at fullback I’m willing to do that but at the same time I think my best position is wing.
“I’m hoping he can get me to my best form on the wing.”
Proud to be a Dolphin
While Isaako hasn’t yet had a chance to immerse himself in Dolphins’ culture just yet, he’s keen to do so and also call the Redcliffe peninsula home at some stage.
“It’s only been four days. The first day we came in we had an induction about the club and the history of the club. Obviously, Redcliffe has been around since day dot, since footy has been here in Queensland,” he says.
“A lot of Queensland players have come out of playing for Redcliffe. I know the history is really rich here. I’m looking forward to being one of the first ever Dolphins to run out in the NRL competition.
“I’m really grateful to be here. I haven’t learnt too much yet about a lot of the history, but I know as time goes on and being here at the club, I’ll be able to learn more about it.”
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