The Redcliffe Dolphins celebrated starting their season on the front foot after defeating the defending premiers the Burleigh Bears 26-8 in their season opener game at Dolphin Oval yesterday.

The Bears acquitted themselves well, especially when defending their line, but were ultimately out-gunned by the Dolphins.

With nine regulars missing, Bears coach Jimmy Lenihan was relatively happy with his team’s performance.

“When you consider that we’ve got nine missing and effectively our whole spine (fullback, five-eighth, halfback and hooker), our execution was a little bit off but I thought our effort was good,” he said.

“Our goal-line defence showed a lot of character. We probably lost a bit of direction with the ball at times, but our effort and tenacity to try and compete was there.”

Burleigh came out firing with plenty of big carries from the big men in the opening exchanges, but it was Redcliffe who struck first when prop Nathan Watts crashed over under the posts to open the scoring in the fifth minute.

The defending premiers had a number of promising attacking raids shortly after, but their hands let them down at crucial moments.

It was costly, too, as the Dolphins took their chances in the 12th minute as Josh Beehag won the race to a Christian Hazard kick to take the lead to 12-0.