There’s a saying in sport about being able to win ugly, and according to Wayne Bennett, that’s exactly what his Dolphins side did against the Knights to continue the dream start to their NRL tenure.
“It was the good, the bad and the ugly,” he said after the game.
“The good was the 30-something points we scored, and the bad was the 20 we gave up, and there was a lot of rubbish in between.”
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Indeed, the first half was riddled with errors from both sides, but the Dolphins managed to stay in the contest and play out the full 80 minutes to come away 36-20 winners.
“Of the three games it certainly would have been our poorest performance tonight,” Bennett said.
“But we still managed to hang in there, which we’re good at doing and getting a result our way.”
Discipline was an issue as well – Felise Kaufusi made three errors and then found himself on report twice and sin binned in two separate second-half incidents.
In the first, he appeared to drop his shoulder into Jamayne Isaako when there was otherwise nothing else happening in a tackle.
Then with 11 minutes left and the game in the balance at 26-20, Kaufusi flew out of the Dolphins line and hit Jackson Hastings late and in the back deep in his own half.
He was sent to the sin bin, but would reappear briefly in the final minute. Hastings meanwhile was sent for an HIA, and his night finished.
While Knights coach Adam O’Brien said Hastings was fine, the same couldn’t be said for prop Daniel Saifiti, who came off mid-way through the second half with a shoulder complaint.
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Replays showed his arm was awkwardly bent behind his back as the momentum of a tackle rolled he and the Dolphins defender over it.
O’Brien said Saifiti’s prognosis “wasn’t great”, but hoped the seven-day turnaround ahead of their next clash against the Raiders would allow for some niggles to heal.
“He’ll have to go to scans, but there wasn’t much positive news … from staff so it doesn’t look great,” he said.
“It’s a bit dire in the middle there at the moment. The five-day [turnaround] came at a pretty bad time for us, we got a longer turnaround now and so we can sit down once the dust settles and make some plans.”
It’s another injury headache for the Knights who were already without Kalyn Ponga, Jayden Brailey, Tyson Frizell and Jacob Saifiti.
Meanwhile, it was a night to remember for Dolphins winger Tesi Nui, who scored a sensational hat trick.
Jamayne Isaako kicked four from seven and scored two tries to take his points tally to 16 for the night.
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