Full Time
8:00pm Fri April 19, 2024
Round 7 - TIO Stadium, Darwin / Larrakia - Crowd: 11094

Match Overview

On a hot and steamy night in Darwin, a coachless Dolphins came up trumps against a shell-shocked Eels team, with a 46-10 win at TIO Stadium.

With Wayne Bennett stuck in Brisbane due to illness, it was up to Kristian Woolf to help guide an injury-struck Dolphins side up against Brad Arthur's Eels, keen for back-to-back wins.

In the first half, it looked like the Parramatta would get their first win in two games in the northern capital. Bryce Cartwright showed early signs of trouble up their right edge, proving a handful running and kicking the ball for his open runners.

It was the Eels who, after a number of attacks on the Dolphins' line, finally got over in the 18th minute thanks to Shaun Lane hitting the line hard against Kodi Nikorima.

The 'home' team continued to apply pressure to the visitors, who were able to hold off the number of raids to their credit. But it was some lazy play by the Dolphins that saw a penalty for hands on the ball, backed up by a six again, and finally ended with Will Penisini going over. Woolf's outfit could not contain the Eels and paid the price for the Eels' handy work with late offloads.

A change in momentum came after Josh Kerr received a penalty for high contact by Bryce Cartwright. The Dolphins were able to turn around the advantage. Isaiya Katoa began to take control and soon sent Jack Bostock over in the 31st minute to give the Dolphins a whiff.

The opening half ended with the Dolphins looking good but behind the pace of the Eels.

The Eels took the first points after the break, as a late hit on Daejarn Asi gave the Eels a penalty right in front and an easy two points. But it would be the last points the Eels would taste until near the end of the game.

From that point on, the Dolphins had some players lift in key positions, and the game was theirs. Isaiya Katoa's performance in controlling the game and kicking was exceptional, and his efforts were supported by his teammates. It was the spirited work up the middle from forwards like Josh Kerr and Max Plath that laid a foundation for the Dolphins to expose a tired Parramatta team.

Jeremy Marshall-King began running, and teammates continually backed him up. Trai Fuller showed he's as good as any first-grade fullback by constantly being in the right spot. The Dolphins went on to score eight straight tries for the next 30 minutes, which saw Jack Bostock get a hat trick, Max Plath and Test Niu get two tries apiece, and Trai Fuller and Jake Averillo also got one on the scorecard with a try each.

The Eels seemed to fall apart, as many would expect any team to do in the hot and humid conditions, but the Dolphins appeared to find another gear, and they took full advantage.

Dylan Brown found the visitors' defence lacking as his left footsteps close to the line in the 77th minute got the Eels some points, but the scoreboard showed how they had well been off the pace in the second half.

A number of Dolphins players gave standout performances. Katoa led from the middle, rallying his troops. Kerr was inspiring, Plath and Fuller were always in support, and Fuller and Liu terrorised the line. It's easy to single them out, but it really was a team effort by the boys from Redcliffe.

Parramatta, after a promising start, fell away. With Guhterson and Brown left to pick up the pieces. Cartwright was promising at the start, but alas, his impact wasn't there in the second half, and the team's effort will not have gone unnoticed by coach Brad Arthur as they look to a clash with Manly next week. The Dolphins meanwhile, will take plenty of confidence into their home game against Newcastle next Sunday.

3. Isaiya Katoa

2. Max Plath

1. Josh Kerr