On Sunday afternoon at Suncorp Stadium, Wayne Bennett’s Dolphins made a stunning NRL debut, defeating the Sydney Roosters 28-18. The Roosters, who are known to be heavyweights in the competition, were outclassed by the newest franchise in front of an audience of over 32,000. The Dolphins celebrated the late Arthur Beetson while producing an exceptional performance.
The Dolphins were led by former Bulldogs hooker Jeremy Marshall-King, who linked up seamlessly with halves Sean O’Sullivan and Isaiya Katoa. The veteran forwards, Jesse Bromwich, Felise Kaufusi, and Mark Nicholls, also showed that age is no barrier in the 2023 NRL season.
At halftime, the scores were tied, but the Dolphins produced an incredible second half, running in three tries in just ten minutes to secure the victory. The game started with the Roosters kicking off proceedings in the 10th minute after Dolphins winger Jamayne Isaako knocked on a Luke Keary bomb in the in-goal area, and centre Joseph Suaali’i managed to get a hand on the ball, scoring for the Roosters.
The Dolphins struck back when Marshall-King sliced through the Roosters defense, finding Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow in support, who made history by scoring the Dolphins’ first-ever NRL try. However, Katoa had a moment to forget when he knocked the ball on off the kick-off, enabling the Roosters to capitalize, and James Tedesco put Drew Hutchison through from close range.
In the 35th minute, a seesaw battle began to play out when Marshall-King grabbed his second try assist, sweeping left to find former South Sydney prop Nicholls, who crashed over the line. After halftime, the Dolphins scored back-to-back tries through forward Connelly Lemuelu and Isaako, taking a 24-12 lead early in the second half.
Although the Roosters looked to hit back, the Dolphins blew the game wide open when Katoa found Isaako out wide, and the home side had a 16-point lead. Things went from bad to worse for the Roosters when second-rower Egan Butcher was sin-binned for dangerous contact, and forwards Victor Radley and Matt Lodge were ruled out with head injuries. With 14 minutes to play, Keary kicked again for Tupou, who brought the scores to 28-18, but that was as close as the visitors came to reducing the deficit.
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