Two tries in the opening 10 minutes – including the first in a hat-trick for Tony Tumusa – saw the Redcliffe Dolphins post their third win of the season after claiming a 32-16 result over Easts Tigers.
The visiting Dolphins were dominant from the outset, with a hard-running Toby Rudolph diving his way through the defensive line from close range to score after just two minutes.
Tumusa followed that up four minutes later after busting his way straight through the middle to score.
The Tigers were admittedly without some of their big guns in fullback Scott Drinkwater and half Billy Walters, and the side missed their direction dearly in the early stages.
They also dynamic hooker Brandon Smith at the 20-minute mark with a leg complaint; making their task to tackle the Dolphins even harder.
Redcliffe however, showed no mercy, with Cameron Cullen’s kicking game in particular worrying the outside backs of the Tigers, who were struggling to clean them up effectively.
Two successful conversions and a penalty goal from Kotoni Staggs had the Dolphins up with a 14-0 lead; and that was extended in the 28th minute when Tumusa found his way again – thanks time to Cullen’s running, rather than kicking, game. He zig-zagged his way through the middle of the park, with Jonus Pearson providing effective support before eventually landing with Tumusa to complete the scoring play.
Basic errors had been cruelling the Tigers; but when they showed glimpses of what they could do in the shadows of halftime.
Halfback Brayden Torpy stepped up to product a deft kick that curled into the in-goal and was pounced on by skipper Jake Foster to open his side’s scoring.
That effort was followed-up five minutes later when after a scrum, the Tigers pushed the ball out to the far left for young centre Kea Pere to get the ball down and see his side trail 20-10 at the break.
The early stages of the second half saw committed defence on show from both sides, with both sides forcing errors with big tackles.
With tries then hard to come by, Redcliffe took the option to extend their lead via a penalty goal, with Staggs kicking his fifth goal of the day.
His boot was back in action soon after however, with the Dolphins finally cracking the Tigers line again after Pearson was over in the 52nd minute after grabbing a Cullen high-kick that had bounced out of the arms of Tigers fullback Joe Bond. The winger had work to do to get to the line, but was able to fight his way over.
The tries came as a one-two punch for the Dolphins, with Tumusa completing his hat-trick just three minutes later with an easy run from close range to duck in under defenders to score.
Trailing 32-10, there was fight left in the Tigers who again had the last say of the half, with Linc Port – who had had put aside a difficult start to the game to work hard for his side, often taking the first hit up despite playing on the wing – producing a wonderful take to narrow the scores with the fulltime siren five minutes away.
An optimistic pass from the middle seemed to be sailing over the right-hand touchline – but his outstretched right arm was able to drag the ball back into his chest as the navigated the sideline before touching down to end on a positive note.
While outplayed throughout the day, there were a number of strong performers for the Tigers, especially rake Chris Ostwald who played more minutes than expected and was always trying to spark something for his team with his nippy dummy half runs.
Next week, the Tigers travel up to Cairns to face the Pride in the Channel 9 (QLD) TV game; while the Dolphins will host Hunters.
REDCLIFFE DOLPHINS 32 (Tony Tumusa 3, Toby Rudolf, Jonus Pearson tries; Kotoni Staggs 6 goals) def EASTS TIGERS 16 (Jake Foster, Kea Pere, Linc Port tries; Brayden Torpy 2 goals) at Suzuki Stadium, Langlands Park.