Trai Fuller a shining light in Dolphins’ loss

Published 6:00pm 28 April 2024

Trai Fuller a shining light in Dolphins’ loss
Words by Kylie Knight

Stand-in fullback and Redcliffe favourite Trai Fuller was a shining light in the Dolphins’ 18-14 loss to the Knights at Suncorp Stadium this afternoon.

The livewire, who is filling in for star fullback Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, looked dangerous every time he had the ball during just his third NRL game.

As a team, however, the Dolphins lacked spark in the game until the final 10 minutes during which they scored twice in a spirited comeback.

See photos from the game at the end of this story

The Dolphins, however, struggled to gain good field position, missed opportunities and made too many errors for most of the game. They also didn’t manage to match the Knights’ intensity.

“We played pretty flat all day, actually … for whatever reason, we’re not sure about that,” Head Coach Wayne Bennett said after the game.

It’s unclear if the side was still fatigued from a taxing game against the Eels in the extreme heat and humidity in Darwin last week, or if today’s performance was a sign having so many top players out of action is taking a toll.

“We were expected to come back in and play well today. To their credit, they stayed at it. They didn’t give up but Newcastle were pretty fresh and full of running and we were kind of struggling to get to where we wanted to get to,” Bennett said.

He ruled Herbie Farnworth and Thomas Flegler out for next week’s clash against the Cowboys, but said Felise Kaufusi was a chance of making his return to the side.

“It’s a hamstring, so it will be close,” Bennett said.

There are more injury concerns with Kenny Bromwich leaving the field with category 2 HIA symptoms and failing to return. Captain Jesse Bromwich also left the field injured.

“He’s got a calf problem at the moment. We’re not sure what it is, but he’s not walking too good,” Bennett said.

The Super Coach may have been disappointed with some aspects of the game, but there were positives he could see in the Dolphins’ performance.

“He (Trai) was tremendous. There were other guys, they never stopped trying … I admire that quality greatly. They just didn’t have the legs,” Bennett said.

Mark Nicholls, who spoke at the press conference in place of Jesse Bromwich, was also glowing in his praise for Fuller.

“He’s a livewire … we’ve had to try to tackle him at training at 18 months, so I know what it’s like … I wouldn’t want to be on the opposition when you’re tired trying to tackle him,” Nicholls said.

“He’s played well and he definitely created some stuff for us today when we needed it. We got close, but unfortunately we just couldn’t get the two points.

“Trai’s 27, he’s got QCup Player of the Year a couple of times. He’s stuck at it. I remember in off-season I spoke to him about whether he (would) look to get an opportunity somewhere else … obviously Hamiso’s here – a representative player, Queensland and Australia – it’s going to be hard for him to get a run over him.

“But he loves Redcliffe, and he didn’t want to leave. He was happy to stay here and take his opportunities when he can get them.

“I sort of didn’t really crack first grade until my late 20s. Well done to Trai for sticking with it.”

The Dolphins wore their commemorative ANZAC jersey for this afternoon's clash against the Knights, part of the NRL's ANZAC round.

The jersey features the mango trees of Anzac Avenue, formerly known as Anzac Memorial Avenue, and built to honour the local Diggers lost in WWI.

Photos from the game

By Dominika Lis

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