Nikorima’s hat-trick helps the Dolphins defeat the Tigers
Playing in front of their home fans for the first time in seven weeks was a driving motivation for the Redcliffe Dolphins as they put the Brisbane Tigers to the sword 52-12 at Moreton Daily Stadium.
Seeking to secure a top-four spot, the Dolphins got off to a good start with Trai Fuller coming through for the opening try after a few minutes of play after a blockbuster from David Fusitua.
It didn’t take long for the Tigers to hit back when Kyle Coghill crossed in the seventh minute following Fuller’s fumble on his line.
It took the Dolphins a little while, as expected, to find their rhythm, but once they did, it was all one-sided for the home side with attempts for Jayden Nikorima, Josh Beehag and Jackson. Frei to give them an imposing 26-6. lead at half-time.
At halftime, Dolphins coach Adam Mogg told his team to forget the score and start over; he also wanted his team to continue to work hard on his discipline.
At times the Dolphins have offered the Tigers a good position on the pitch after giving multiple starts six times in the first half.
The second half started with one try on each side for the first 15 minutes before the Dolphins went into overdrive for four unanswered tries.
Nikorima led the way for the home side, who were in everything, center for three tries and six goals for a personal total of 24 points.
Newly signed with the Melbourne Storm for next season, Nikorima has gained confidence with every exit from the Dolphins and is keen to leave the Dolphins with a prime ministerial post.
He also showed his versatility by moving to the back to cover an injured Fuller, who was forced off the pitch with an ankle injury in the 53rd minute.
For the Tigers, their rambling management would have been a concern for coach Jon Buchanan; when they got into good field position, they just couldn’t convert possession and field position into points.
After the game, Mogg said he was really happy with the victory, especially his team’s defensive effort, but urged his players not to come too far.
Warriors contracted player Tom Ale was named player of the game for the Dolphins after an exceptional return to football following a lengthy layoff due to injury.
Ale was well supported by Nikorima, Fusitua, Viliame Vailea and Lachlan Timm; in fact, you could pretty much name the whole Dolphins squad because they didn’t have a bad player on the pitch.
The Tigers will be better for the race but need to reduce their handling errors and defensive mistakes at crucial points in games.
Next week, the Dolphins will play Northern Pride in the curtain-raiser of the Bulldogs’ clash against the Tigers at Moreton Daily Stadium on Sunday.
The Tigers face Souths Logan Magpies at Totally Workwear Stadium.