Phins up but three down as Bennett counts the cost of bruising Tigers win


The Dolphins suffered injuries to three of their key players as half Isaiya Katoa set up a 26-16 win over Wests Tigers at Suncorp Stadium

The top-of-the-table Dolphins won their third game in a row for just the second time in their short history in front of  22,051 fans, but it came at great cost.

Dolphins second-rower Felise Kaufusi was ruled out of the match with a hamstring injury in the 28th minute, and prop Thomas Flegler hurt his shoulder before exiting in the 63rd.

Worse was to follow when star centre Herbie Farnworth left the field with a suspected AC joint injury with five minutes remaining. 

Inspirational Tigers skipper Api Koroisau injured his quad in the warm-up. He strapped it up and took the field, but was replaced in the 35th minute before returning after the break.

The Tigers faced more adversity when they lost forwards John Bateman and Samuela Fainu either side of halftime to concussion.

Katoa, just 20, kicked the Tigers to death with composure well beyond his years.

He started and finished a sweeping movement to score the opening try after winger Jack Bostock was set free by No.6 Kodi Nikorima.

The Dolphins defended multiple sets on their own tryline with vim and took their chance at the other end.

Veteran back-rower Kaufusi split the Tigers’ defence open and found flying fullback Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, who made it 14-0.

Kaufusi left the field immediately after making the bust.

The Tigers had their chances, with fullback Jahream Bula bursting through only to throw a forward pass to centre Justin Olam.

Nikorima gets on the end of it, and how good is the celebration ????

???? Watch #NRLDolphinsTigers on ch.502 or stream on Kayo:

— Fox League (@FOXNRL) April 6, 2024

Errors in their own half cost the visitors against a Dolphins side that was relentless. 

After the break the Tigers unleashed, with half Aidan Sezer and Koroisau in the thick of it. 

Centre Solomona Faataape crashed over after excellent work by forward Isaiah Papali’i and winger Charlie Staines.

Sezer then threaded the needle with a perfectly placed grubber kick for Faataape to ground the ball with his torso and narrow the margin to four.

A Faataape DOUBLE

???? Watch #NRLDolphinsTigers on ch.502 or stream on Kayo:

— Fox League (@FOXNRL) April 6, 2024

It was in the big moment that Katoa stepped up with a perfectly-weighted grubber for Nikorima to score. 

Hooker Jeremy Marshall-King then carved through the middle and found rampaging Kenny Bromwich to put the game out of reach for the visitors.

The late injuries to Flegler and Farnworth soured the Dolphins’ triumph ahead of next Friday night’s showdown with the Broncos.

Highly rated 18-year-old Tigers playmaker Latu Fainu also made his debut off the bench.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.