The Dolphins pulled together to beat their top-placed bayside rivals on Saturday night with a team which included three debutants and an on-fire Jayden Nikorima.
Nikorima scored two tries, the first in the fifth minute and set up another in his return to Intrust Super Cup after shoulder surgery and last year’s cancellation of the competition due to COVID-19.
Coach Adam Mogg says those on debut included Samual Elara, Junior Ratuva, and 'Otukinekina-He-Tofonga Kepu, while it was the first time Peesi Kepu started a game on the field.
Mogg says he was pleased to see Nikorima make such an emphatic return to the side and the Intrust Super Cup competition.
“I’m just really happy for him. I know what he’s been through and our football club has been there with him,” he says.
Mogg says Nikorima has worked on his personal development with Glenn Azar, matured as a person and overcome injury to get back on the field.
“He’s been training hard and getting better, without playing a game. You could see the joy on his face. I was just really happy for him,” he said.
The team was without Vodafone Warriors stars and a number of its own key players for the game but came together as Mogg hoped they would.
“I thought as a team and collectively as a footy club, we did a fantastic job,” he said.
“I’m super proud of that. There was heaps of disruption to our week and kids on debut, a new spine and new left edge … it was a whole team performance.
“I think the NRL will stay in a bubble all year. I don’t see too much change there. We saw it on Saturday night, it’s going to create opportunities for kids (to step up).”
Injuries from Saturday night’s win could cost the side a couple of players, but Mogg said more would be known when scan results were in.
“This will create more opportunity for people in our football club. It puts pressure on the first-grade team and Colts,” he said
He says training together every week and not locking players into position was paying off.
“Everyone is competing really well at training and it’s times like this it comes back to help you, not so much at the beginning of the season,” he said.
He said losing the NRL players and 8-10 other players to injury could have a big impact, but he’s confident it will not because of the way the squad has trained and is structured.
“Preseason comes back to really help you and you saw that on Saturday night,” Mogg said.
“The exciting thing for me is that we didn’t play our best footy on Saturday night, I think we were deserving winners, but I don’t think it was our best defensive game.”
He says the side that plays the Jets in Quilpie this Saturday at 3pm will be different again, and the focus at training will be the same as it has been all season – review and determine how to improve.
“The QRL has a great concept in Country Week and it will be a tough game of footy out there,” Mogg said.
In round 15, the side will play the Mackay Cutters at Moreton Daily Stadium on August 1. Kick-off is 2.10pm.
But Mogg is not looking beyond this weekend.
“I’m focused on getting the best out of them each week and that’s all you can control,” he said.
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