Andrew Pelechaty reports on another historic night for The Dolphins.
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It was another historic night for The Dolphins – their first win in New South Wales, their first hat-trick, their highest score, and their biggest winning margin.
After a horror injury toll less than a month into the season, the poor old Knights were looking for a confidence boost in-front of their passionate fans.
Tesi Niu scored the first of his three tries in the ninth minute to get The Dolphins underway, but Newcastle hit back through Tyson Gamble, taking an excellent running catch off a Jackson Hastings kick and barging past Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow to score.
The Dolphins got a crucial double break shortly before halftime – first Kodi Nikorima burrowed over, then Niu got his second.
But former Australian Rugby Seven player Lachlan Miller got one back to reduce The Dolphins’ lead to 16-12 at the break.
The Knights opened the second half with arguably the try of the year so far – after catching an Isaiya Katoa kick, Bradman Best hustled for the tap 20 before linking with Miller to run 65 metres, showing off his Sevens speed. The Knights were suddenly up 18-16.
But the tenacious Dolphins quickly hit back, with The Hammer putting them back in-front (off a deflection from Dominic Young), and poor old Young knocked on again for Niu to claim his hat-trick.
A Felise Kaufusi sin bin (capping a horrible night for him) got Newcastle within six with 11 minutes left, but The Dolphins again showed the tenacity that gave them tight wins over the Roosters and Canberra.
Two tries to Jamayne Isaako in the last five minutes (along with his four goals) put the game away.
If Brisbane beat St George Illawarra on Saturday, it sets up an enticing undefeated derby between The Dolphins and Broncos at Lang Park next Friday night – a game that deserves prime-time blockbuster status.
The Knights stay at home to play Canberra next Sunday. Anything could happen considering the Raiders’ inconsistent form so far. And the Knights have a habit of being Canberra’s bogey team.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR POINTSEmbed from Getty Images
3 – Tesi Niu (Dolphins)
2 – Jamayne Isaako (Dolphins)
1 – Lachlan Miller (Knights)