A large media contingent, fans and Dolphins’ Chairman Bob Jones were on the sidelines at the NRL side’s first training session today following their historic round one win on Sunday.
See the photo gallery at the end of this story
Jones said it was the best day in his rugby league life.
“Those who have gone before us, I’m sure, would be pleased. It was just a wonderful day. For the boys to play the way they did and dominate, really, in the finish was icing on the cake,” he said.
“It was a spectacular day, not even just the football, but the presentation … all our staff have done a great job. It was a really special day.”
Jones said the side thrived on the atmosphere when it could have had the opposite effect.
“The players need to take some credit for that. I’m sure the big fella (Wayne Bennett) had a bit to do with that. That’s right up his alley that stuff. He thrives on it. You just couldn’t script it any better,” he said.
“We were going pretty average early, once they got on top … they just really got some confidence. Just what it was doing for the fans and people in the crowd and I’m sure people at home was just mind-blowing.”
|“It’s the stuff of dreams to have your team finally in the NRL and to have them play the way they played … and the result.”|
The result now means Bennett has earnt Jones’ car park at the club. That was the deal – Bennett could have it when the side had their first win. His car was parked there this morning.
“I’m just not sure the players can understand what they’ve done for rugby league, what they’ve done for the greater Brisbane area, our community … the interest, all the number are through the roof – people watching the game,” Jones said.
“I’m sure the NRL are quietly chuffed, but we’ve got to get back on the horse and be ready to go again for Saturday. I’m sure the big fella will have them where they need to be.”
Jones and the team are bracing for an electric atmosphere at Redcliffe’s Kayo Stadium this Saturday (4.30pm kick-off). The game has sold out.
“It was great at Suncorp, but 10,000 here (at Redcliffe’s Kayo Stadium), they’re right on you and they’ll be all red. We’ve had full houses here at different times but not their own team in the NRL. I can’t imagine what that will be like,” he said.
Community shares excitement
Jones has been overwhelmed by the level of interest and support for the club since Sunday’s win and can’t wait for this weekend.
It’s a feeling shared by Prop Tom Gilbert who is looking forward to playing just down the road from where he grew up in front a big contingent of family and friends.
“I’m running out of tickets,” he said.
The team has also been overwhelmed by the support they have had from the community since last weekend’s win.
“It’s been awesome. We went down to the lagoon and did recovery. A few of us went and had brekkie together it was a really good vibe. A big thing out of the game … it’s obviously got us two points but I think we earnt the respect of a lot of people,” Gilbert said.
He believes channelling the energy from fans is the best way to deal with it.
|“I think you’ve got to lean into it. We’re a community club and we’re a club that wants to represent Redcliffe, Moreton Bay and up to Rocky very well,” Gilbert explained.|
“That’s the big question, now, can we do it again. There’s definitely belief in the group that that’s the performance we should be trying to aim for each week. For us, it’s probably just a mindset.
“We had a really good training week last week and built into the week really well. We had a good session today, we’ll have an even better session on Friday and then it’s a matter of turning up for 80 minutes and putting that same energy in.”
Win for the history pages
Jones said he was most proud of how the team won the game last weekend. For Gilbert it was about trusting the process and the game plan they had formulated.
“I think it was just doing the hard things well. You see the teams that won on the weekend … most of them did the tough things really well and I think that’s something we prided ourselves on for 80 minutes on the weekend,” he said.
“That’s something we’re really proud of as a team because we had a tough preseason, we didn’t show that against the Titans … we’re lucky that was a trial match. We got to show that in round one. We’ve got to feed into that same energy and be ready to go again this week.
“It’s great to feed off that but we have to make our own energy in a sense … half the games this year are away – we play in New Zealand, Perth. There’s not going to be many Dolphins supporters there.”
A handful of senior players were rested from today’s training session and Captain Jessie Bromwich left the field part-way through to put ice on his elbow.
Gilbert said it was the coaching team’s way of managing their ‘old’ age and ensuring they were ready for game day.
Someone who will be ready to play is debutant Mason Teague, who will leap-frog the Hostplus Cup (QCup) to run out for the NRL side on Saturday afternoon.
“Mase, he’s in this team for a reason. That’s the reason he’s playing so early … he’s ready, he’s been training extremely hard. Not just that, he’s a really good bloke and a really good person to have in the club,” Gilbert said.
“I know he hasn’t played Q Cup yet, he’s skipped that transition, but that’s because he’s worked really hard, he’s got a great attitude.”
Check out the photo gallery – click through
Photos by Dominika Lis
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