Dolphins vs. Sydney Roosters in Historic NRL Clash
The Brisbane Broncos’ second NRL team, the Redcliffe Dolphins, made their NRL debut on Sunday against the Sydney Roosters.
The Dolphins made history as the first Queensland club to debut in the NRL since 2007.
The match was held at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, in front of a capacity crowd.
Brandon Smith, the Roosters’ new recruit, was taken off for a Head Injury Assessment (HIA) by an independent doctor after an early collision with teammate Nat Butcher.
Despite this, the Roosters were able to maintain their composure and earn a 24-16 win against the Dolphins.
The Dolphins made a late change with Conelly Lemuele coming onto the bench for Herman Ese’ese, while the Roosters brought in Drew Hutchison at centre, with Corey Allan moving to the bench and Jake Turpin taking Fletcher Baker’s place on the pine.
Despite the Dolphins losing their first NRL match, coach Wayne Bennett was not afraid to take risks and debut teenage prodigy Isaiya Katoa at five-eighth over veteran Anthony Milford.
Bennet believes Katoa has the ability to excel at the top level of the game.
The Roosters’ star-studded outfit was too much for the Dolphins to handle, with new recruit Corey Allan filling in for the injured Joey Manu and Jaxson Paulo lining up on the wing.
Jared Waerea-Hargreaves was also out due to injury, and coach Trent Robinson called on his next generation of forwards to fill the bench.
Despite the loss, the Dolphins had plenty of experience around Katoa, including Felise Kaufusi, the Bromwich brothers, and Jarrod Wallace.
The Roosters added Brandon Smith to their already powerful spine, which includes James Tedesco, Luke Keary, and Sam Walker.
The match had a historical significance as it was the first time the two teams had met in an official NRL game, and they played for the Artie Legacy Medal, named in honor of the great Arthur Beetson.
The medal is awarded to the player judged best on the field in the annual contest between the Roosters and the Dolphins.
Overall, the match was a significant milestone for the Redcliffe Dolphins and the NRL, who are expanding the league to include new franchises in a bid to increase the popularity of the game.