2023 NRL Round 1: Dolphins 28, Roosters 18

The Dolphins pull off a fairy-tale start to their NRL career defeating the Sydney Roosters in Brisbane.


Dolphins 28
Tries: (5) Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow 15th; Mark Nicholls 35th; Connelly Lemuelu 46th; Jamayne Isaako 50th, 56th
Goals: (4) Jamayne Isaako 17th, 37th, 47th, 51st

Sydney Roosters 18
Tries: (3) Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii 10th; Drew Hutchison 18th; Daniel Tupou 66th
Goals: (3) Sam Walker 12th, 19th, 67th

Embed from Getty Images


Despite the midweek omission of Herman Ese’ese with through injury and late changes to the Roosters line up with Fletcher Baker being dropped in favour of Jake Turpin, the stage was set at a packed Suncorp Stadium on a warm Sunday afternoon for the round one clash between the Dolphins and the Roosters.

Right from the kick-off, the game was intense. The Dolphins started off their inaugural NRL season looking like they had done it all before, putting themselves in a scoring position within minutes, only to have the try denied.

The Roosters in all their experience hit straight back with a Luke Keary kick to Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii on the left edge, a try which was eventually confirmed by the bunker under the new interpretation of the grounding rules.  

It didn’t take long for the Dolphins to get the first try of their NRL endeavour with crafty hooker Jeremy Marshall-King making a break upfield before passing the ball off to fullback Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow to finish of the job and level up the scores.

It was the very next kick off that saw luck turn to the Roosters side, with the ball left to bounce by the home side and regathered by the visitors, who capitalized on their gifted field position to allow Drew Hutchinson to slide over. 

After an extended stint of end to end footy, it was the Dolphins who would notch up the scoreboard and level the game just before halftime with Mark Nicholls taking a swift pass from Marshall-King at dummy half and crashing over the try line. 

It didn’t take long after the break for the Dolphins to cross again through Connelly Lemuelu and put them in front for the first time in the match.

The home side continued their momentum and followed up with a Jamayne Isaako try only minutes later, giving them a handy 12-point lead going into the final quarter of the game.

The Dolphins then truly gave their fans something to cheer about after piling on their third four pointer in a row with a nice combination between Tabuai-Fidow and Isaako, extending their lead after some extremely average defensive effort from the Sydney side.  

Things went from bad to worse for the tricolours, with Egan Butcher sent to the sin bin following a dangerous tackle around the legs, sending a message to the rest of the competition about the NRL’s stance on such instances this season.

Despite looking done and dusted with 20 minutes remaining, the Roosters managed to score a scrappy try through Daniel Tupou whilst playing with 12 men and put themselves back within reach of a round one victory. 

In the end however, the Dolphins managed to hang on and secure their first ever win in the NRL, starting off their season strong and putting the competition on notice. 


Embed from Getty Images

3 – Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow (Dolphins)
2 – Jamayne Isaako (Dolphins)
1 – Mark Nicholls (Dolphins)

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