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Dolphins smash Warriors to end debut season on a high

The Dolphins have capped their debut season in the NRL with a 34-10 win over the Warriors at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday.

The win was the ninth of the year for Wayne Bennett's men and provided the perfect bookend to a maiden campaign which opened in March with a stunning upset of the Roosters.

The Dolphins struck first in the eighth minute when Jack Bostock soared into the left corner and Jamayne Isaako converted from touch for a 6-0 lead.

Come the 24th minute and the Dolphins had a second through Sean O'Sullivan after mounting concerted pressure for a number of sets.

A brilliant inside ball by prop Jarrod Wallace found Isaiya Katoa in support and the Dolphins had cashed in on the weight of possession to lead 18-0 after 28 minutes.

Warriors halfback Ronald Volkman came close to opening his side's account soon after when he grubbered for himself but he was unable to control the ball as he tried to get it down.

Jamayne Isaako Try

The NRL's leading tryscorer Isaako then finished off a slick attacking raid with his 24th four-pointer of the season as the Dolphins ran the undermanned Warriors ragged.

The Warriors opened the second half with more steel in their defence and a shot by Tom Ale on O'Sullivan served notice that Andrew Webster's men weren't going down without a fight.

When Freddy Lussick crashed over from dummy half in the 58th minute the Warriors had closed within 16 points and given themselves some hope.

Ale crunches Katoa

Tireless worker Josh Curran then busted the Dolphins defence from deep in his own territory and found Adam Pompey who sent the ball on to Marcelo Montoya to make it two tries in two minutes for the Warriors.

A penalty against Warriors debutant Paul Roache for a dangerous tackle eased the pressure on the Dolphins and they steadied with a try to Max Plath off great lead-up work by Kodi Nikorima.

Trailing 28-10 the Warriors threatened to hit back almost immediately but some desperate defence by Valynce Te Whare kept the Dolphins' line intact.

Veteran forward Kenny Bromwich grabbed himself a late try to make the final score 34-10.

The Warriors were simply outclassed on the day and will head into the finals series on the back of their biggest loss of the season.

Match Snapshot

  • The Dolphins lost hooker Harrison Graham to a groin injury during the first half. 
  • Valynce Te Whare ran for 177 metres and had three tackle breaks for the Dolphins.
  • Five-eighth Kodi Nikorima sparked the Dolphins with two try assists, four line break assists and a line break.
  • The Dolphins have now defeated four top-eight teams in their debut season - Raiders, Knights, Sharks and Warriors.

Nikorima cuts the Warriors open

  • The Dolphins had 61 per cent of the ball in the first half and made 1284 metres to 632 by the Warriors.
  • The Dolphins had 15 line breaks to three for the match.
  • Josh Curran worked hard all day for the Warriors with 131 run metres and 36 tackles.
  • Dolphins winger Jamayne Isaako finished the season with 244 points. He ran for 204 metres on the day and had six tackle breaks.

Isaiya Katoa Try

Play of the Game 

Playing in just his fourth game of the season, Jack Bostock produced a spectacular putdown for the game's opening try. The 20-year-old showed plenty of nice touches throughout the match and will be hoping to capitalise on a good finish to the year and play a much bigger role for the Dolphins in 2024.

Jack Bostock Try

What They Said 

"I think we can be really proud of what we set up at the start of the year and the way we played, setting those foundations as to who the Dolphins are. We did fall away a little bit, we can't hide away from that, but I think we can be really proud overall of what we have done. For 70-odd minutes of the game I thought our defence was really good. I think today was as good if not better than we have defended, particularly over the back half of the year." - Dolphins assistant coach Kristian Woolf

Dolphins: Round 27

"We should have been way better. We've got high standards as a club and I thought as a team we didn't build any pressure. Our kicking game and building pressure just wasn't good enough and if you have to tackle all day you will be tired. We looked the better team in the second half and started getting our game back on but then we fell off a cliff again and lost the momentum and lost what we were trying to do and straight away that's when we conceded those tries. We don't care who we play, the Broncos and Panthers are both great sides. The seven-day turnaround would be better but we're ready to go, we don't complain." - Warriors coach Andrew Webster

Warriors: Round 27

What's Next

The Dolphins can put their feet up and reflect on an excellent debut season in which they won nine games and the respect of the NRL community. The Warriors head into their first finals series since 2018 and will face either the Panthers or Broncos next week.

Acknowledgement of Country

The New Zealand Warriors honour the mana of the Indigenous peoples of Aotearoa, Australia and the Pacific. We acknowledge the traditional kaitiaki of the lands, elders past and present, their stories, their traditions, their mamae and their mana motuhake.

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