The Dolphins’ NRL side thrilled fans at their spiritual home in a win which demonstrated qualities which have been part of the club’s DNA for more than 75 years.
It took grit, hard work and a never-say-die attitude to beat the Canberra Raiders tonight.
The Dolphins’ clinched their second win in as many weeks at Redcliffe’s Kayo Stadium in front of a crowd of 10,023. They clawed their way back from a 12-0 deficit to a 20-14 win.
It was a moment for the history books in heavy rain at times, slippery conditions and energy-zapping humidity.
After a steady and composed start, which mirrored last week’s debut at Suncorp Stadium, the Dolphins were trailing 12-0 with less than two minutes to the break. It was then when crowd favourite The Hammer, Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, scored the first try for the home side.
A successful kick from Jamayne Isaako made it 12-6 at half-time.
The Dolphins’ completion rate was sitting around 50 per cent in the first half, with the Raiders gaining the majority of possession.
They turned this around in the second half, denying the Raiders any further tries and crossing twice with tries to Tom Gilbert, off a Sean O’Sullivan kick, and Tabuai-Fidow.
Isaako kicked three from three.
Head Coach Wayne Bennett, who drew a huge roar from the crowd when a shot of him standing in front of the player tunnel appeared on the big screen, said he was pleased with how his team won the game.
“Only special teams can do those kinds of things (come back from 12-0),” Bennett said.
|“Just refusing to give in. The first 25 minutes of that second half was pretty tough. They never gave up a try, came back and counter-attacked and put ourselves back in the game.|
“The first half we gave ourselves no chance because … (we were) pretty ill-disciplined with the ball … we tidied that up and it allowed Hamiso to come into the game.”
Captain Jesse Bromwich said his teammates dug deep when halfback Sean O’Sullivan was sin-binned in the final 10 minutes.
“Just the effort … not giving up, sticking to our game plan, going out there and putting plenty of effort in,” Bromwich said.
“I think it just shows the character of the team and the preseason that we had, being about the fight to the death and play right to the end. I’m pretty proud of the effort the boys put in.”
But he’s not getting carried away, acutely aware there’s a tough assignment against the Knights next week (Friday, 5pm kick-off).
“We just roll straight onto the next week … a tough one away, our first away game. It’s important that we get our bodies right and look forward to a tough game next week,” he said.
In saying that, he did relish the atmosphere at Redcliffe’s Kayo Stadium tonight.
|“Right at the end there, I could hear them going crazy. It just makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up when you hear that. It sounds like they’re right on top of you here at the stadium too,” he said.|
“I loved it. I loved seeing all the red in the crowd, it got the boys up in the game. It was a really good atmosphere.”
The crowd seemed to love every moment, find their cheering rhythm when it counted. They drowned out a passionate group of Raiders’ fans in the northern stand, but at times struggled to decide on a single chant.
It ranged from ‘Redcliffe’ to ‘Dolphins’, to ‘let’s go Dolphins’. No doubt it will come as they get more chances to cheer for their boys.
NRL debutant Mason Teague performed well under pressure and his coach was pleased.
“He was good. He’s only 18, 19 years of age. When we finished the preseason camp, there were five young boys there and I told them all they impressed us and the men in the group would want to play with them,” Bennett explained.
“That’s what’s happening, they’re getting opportunities and no-one’s blinking when they come in the team because they know how tough they are and how well they’ve trained for young players. They deserve their place.”
Canberra Raiders Head Coach Ricky Stuart said it was a tough game and the win for the Dolphins came down to moments.
He praised his side’s effort and that of their opponents in difficult conditions.
“They’ve done a good job and that was a good win for them. He (Bennett) has done a good job with them to get two out of two. It’s a great way to start a foundation season,” Stuart said.
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Photos by Dominika Lis
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