NRL 2023: Dolphins gone down in history, Knights criticized for ‘absolutely pathetic’ scenes

The Dolphins are making history with another stunning win that opened the team’s first season.

Dolphins added knights to Roosters And Raiders with a 36-20 win at Newcastle on Friday night.

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It was the team’s first away game and after moving forward for most of the match, Wayne Bennett’s team took the lead thanks to Tesi Nui’s hat-trick and Jamaine Isaako’s brace.

Already one of only three expansion clubs out of 23 since 1908 to win two matches to start their lives, the club has now done it three.

And the Dolphins will play the Broncos next week, aiming to match the start of the Storm’s first season, when the club won four games in 1998. The Broncos hold the record by winning their first six consecutive regular season games to start their first season.

Despite the performance, Bennett said the result was “good, bad and ugly” but was pleased with the 3-0 result rather than 0-3.

“Good was 30-plus points, bad was 18, which we passed with a lot of trash in between,” Bennett said.

“Of the three games, today’s game would by far be our worst game yet, and we still managed to just hang in there, what we know how to do and get things done in our own way.”

But it was another brutal night for the Knights, who fell to 1-2 with their only win coming at the Tigers last Sunday.

The Knights missed out on Adam Elliott, Kurt Mann, Jacob Saifiti, Jayden Braley, Tyson Saifiti, Jack Jones and Kalin Pong.

Coach Adam O’Brien said that Daniel Saifiti “didn’t look good” as another middle forward was likely out of the next match.

With 11 minutes remaining and at 26-20, the Knights lost to midfielder Jackson Hastings by HIA after Dolphins hitman Felise Caufusi was ruled out with a late kick to the back while passing the ball.

Kaufushi was informed earlier in the match.

WITH Ponga out with concussionhe left new quarterback Laci Miller and five-eighth Tyson Gamble to bring the Knights home.

However, a short pass from Gamble, who advanced a mile ahead, was knocked down after essentially freezing the game.

Lachlan McKirdy of CODE Sports wrote: “What is Tyson Gamble doing there? Absolutely shocking last five minutes.”

But O’Brien did not agree with the attacks from social networks.

“I just think we didn’t make it easy for ourselves to win,” he said.

“There was an effort. But some bugs are there in the back that really let the game get away from us. We’ll get smarter, but I think in terms of the DNA we were trying to build over the summer, we didn’t get hurt.”

O’Brien said the moment his two players collided towards the end of the day was a good sign as both were running towards the ball.

This caused the points to slip away and the Dolphins returned to the top of the rankings after two matches in the round.

Only the Dragons or Broncos can usurp the Dolphins when the sides play on Saturday and claim 18 or 19 points respectively.

Next Friday night, the Broncos and the Dolphins will start a delicious derby.

Originally published as Bennett unhappy with Dolphins’ ‘worst performance’ as team moves closer to history