The Dolphins took bragging rights in their derby clash against Gold Coast Titans, 28-26 in a comeback effort at Brisbane Football Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
If there ever was a game that summed up the game of two halves cliche this was it. Titans poured on 26 points in the first half before the Dolphins swam against the tide and piled on 28 straight to take the two points.
AJ Brimson was back at custodian for the Titans and was heavily involved in their work. The first points from the visitors came from the boot after a strip on Tino Fa'asuamaleaui which allowed Tanah Boyd to give them a 2-0 lead.
From there, it was an avalanche of points for the Titans. Brimson broke through the line in a match race with Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow before he turned it inside to former Knight Chris Randall who strolled away.
The big men were the next to get over the stripe for the Titans. Isaac Liu dummied before he sliced through then Fa'asuamaleaui went through a huge gap to get himself a four-pointer and make it 20-0 for the visitors.
It seemed like the Titans were making breaks at will and it showed in their fourth try. Another long break from Randall saw Boyd loom large on the inside and take his personal tally to fourteen as the Titans led 26-0.
Dolphins did find some solace late in the first half from a high kick. It was spilled by Brimson right into the path of Kodi Nikorima who sent it wide to Robert Jennings for the simplest finish for the score.
Coming out of the break, Dolphins felt just fine. Nikorima was heavily involved again and combined with a rampaging Mark Nicholls who dived over from close range and gave the locals something to dream about.
Once again, it was a forward that bustled through for the Dolphins. It was former Titan Jarrod Wallace, who showed off his grip skills to maintain possession and touch down for a 26-18 score line and belief rippled around the stadium.
The hosts should've leaped free willy style into the lead but Jennings bombed it twice. The first, Tabuai-Fidow lept high and passed it to the winger who fell away with no one around then he looked to have scored but it was ruled a knock on.
Third time was a charm for Jennings. It was another passage on the left side and he was presented with a simple finish which got everyone around up and about as it became 26-24 with 15 minutes to go.
There felt like an air of inevitability around the Dolphins completing the comeback. It came in the 76th minute. A short pass saw Euan Aitken steam onto the ball and stretch out to touch the sky and the try line to complete the task, 28-26.
Titans had a late rally in the final minutes but the ball died with David Fifita in the final stages as they suffered the ignominy of defeat. It felt like the visitors were monstar'd in the second half and fell into a hole much like last week and might be cracking out the tackling bags during the week.