Injuries to hooker Billy Gilbert, half Jack Madden and prop Bill Cullen have undermined a spirited Central Capras performance against Redcliffe.
While Sam Anderson came up with a match-winning try three minutes from fulltime in a 20-14 win for the Dolphins, the storyline was of a desperately unlucky Capras outfit.
Fan favourite Gilbert was forced from the field just 10 minutes in after he became trapped under Dolphins prop Nathan Watts, with initial reports that he has suffered a broken leg.
Meanwhile skipper Madden, who had a late start to the year because of injury, did not return from halftime.
Tough front rower Cullen lasted almost a full game and was one of the Capras's best before a heavy tackle left him dazed and interchanged at the death.
The triple blow detracted from a great contest, with the teams level for 38 minutes of the clash at Dolphin Stadium.
At halftime the score was 10-all, and for most of the second half it was 14-all – a surprise for those who expected the Dolphins to cruise to the win.
Broncos-contracted Jonus Pearson nabbed an impressive double, while Junior Kirisome mirrored his effort for the team from CQ.
Pearson did his hopes of more time in the NRL no harm, floating high to collect a Cameron Cullen kick for his first four-pointer, then screaming away down the sideline for his second.
Cullen was in danger of not lasting a full game himself, placed on report for an alleged high tackle that folded Chanel Seigafo on the spot.
Referee Tyson Brough elected not to dismiss Cullen from the field, at a time when the game still hung in the balance.
Into the final five minutes it looked as though the match would end in the first draw of the 2018 Intrust Super Cup season, with both teams trying desperately to break the deadlock.
Capras powerhouse, former Australian representative Dave Taylor, was in the thick of it, though his attacking raids came with varying effectiveness.
The decisive play came when Redcliffe set up for what looked like a field goal attempt or deep backline movement, but instead five-eighth Bryce Donovan found front-runner Anderson to deceive the defence.
Hulking Anderson, who almost knocked himself out with a tackle on Maipele Morseau in the dying seconds, then strode through to steal the result and clinch the Hastings Deering Man of the Match award.
Central Queensland again has the Channel Nine TV game next week at 1pm Saturday, hosting the Townsville Blackhawks at Browne Park, Rockhampton.
Meanwhile the Dolphins will shape up against the rejuvenated Tweed Heads Seagulls at 6pm next Saturday at Dolphin Stadium.
REDCLIFFE DOLPHINS 20 (Jonus Pearson 2, Tony Tumusa, Sam Anderson tries; Bryce Donovan 2 goals) def CQ CAPRAS 14 (Junior Kirisome 2, Jerry Key tries; Connor Broadhurst goal) at Dolphin Stadium.