The Dolphins and the Sharks took to the field in the second of three games on Super Saturday for the 2023 Magic Round. The Sharks were hoping to keep their top two spot, meanwhile the Dolphins were looking to make their way into the top eight.
The Dolphins wasted very little time to get the first points on the board, with Isaiya Katoa scoring the first try of the night after just six minutes.
The Sharks were struggling against their opposition’s strong attack early on in the game; meanwhile the Dolphins cruised into the game and gained momentum early on to put themselves ahead of Cronulla.
The Dolphins scored again shortly after – Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow being the one to cross.
It didn’t take long for the Dolphins to find themselves 30 points ahead, and the Sharks were going to have to muster a lot of strength and momentum to put themselves in the contest.
At long last, with just four minutes remaining in the first half, the Sharks put their first points on the board (through Ronaldo Mulitalo). A second try was awarded to them just before half-time (to William Kennedy). Despite still being quite far behind, perhaps the late shift in momentum for Cronulla would carry over into the second half, making for a stronger contest to close out the game.
In comparison to the first, Cronulla were looking a lot stronger in the early stages of the second half, but there was still a long way to go for them to make a comeback against the Dolphins.
While the Dolphins remained 20 points ahead, the opening minutes of the second half were a more even contest between the two.
Valynce Te Whare scored his second try of the night, the first points of the second half, for the Dolphins to extend their lead by another six points. This was the shift they needed in the momentum to kick themselves back into a similar gear to where they were in the early stages of the game.
The second half was more of a back-and-forth contest, however it seemed the Dolphins’ effort in the first half would make it too hard for Cronulla to muster a big comeback.
The Sharks were awarded one last try from Teig Wilton, and that pretty well closed out the game.
The Dolphins won by 20 points in their first appearance in NRL’s Magic Round, pushing themselves up into the top eight.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR POINTS
3 – Jamayne Isaako (Dolphins)
2 – Connelly Lemuelu (Dolphins)
1 – Valynce Te Whare (Dolphins)