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Dolphins prove too strong for Falcons

After one minute of silence to remember the life of Dolphin No.166 Robert Orchard, the Redcliffe Dolphins and Sunshine Coast Falcons went into battle for two premiership points.

It was the Falcons who opened the scoring in the eighth minute courtesy of a penalty goal to skipper Todd Murphy.

Falcons centre Nathan Saumalu fell foul of the match officials and found himself cooling his heals in the sin bin for ten minutes.

Just two minutes later the Dolphins made the Falcons pay when Brisbane Broncos young gun Xavier Coates, who played for Tweed Seagulls in 2019, pulled in a high Tyson Gamble pass, kicked ahead for himself, won the race to the ball to score in the corner.

Gamble’s sideline conversion saw the Dolphins leading 6-2 after 13 minutes.

For the next 15 minutes the game was full of near chances, missed opportunities and penalties by both sides.

A penalty goal to Gamble saw the Dolphins extend their lead to 8-2 in the highly physical encounter.

Five minutes before half-time, the freakish talents of Coates came to the fore as he flew through the air to claim a well-weighted Gamble kick to cross for his second try.

A conversion that rebounded off the upright before going over extended the Dolphins' lead to 14-2, which stayed the same to the half-time break.

It was a determined looking Falcons side that came out in the second, taking early control in the second half.

Despite their early dominance in both possession and field position in the second half, they couldn’t get the ball across the line in the opening exchanges.

It was the Dolphins who were next to put points on the scoreboard through a Gamble penalty goal in the 59th minute.

Just two minutes later Asipeli Fine charged through a hole created by a clever Cameron Cullen pass before Fine found an unmarked Jon Reuben, who crossed for his first try in Dolphins colours.

The Falcons finally got a reward for all their good field position when Sam Burns dived on a loose ball to score Murphy’s conversion, making it 20-8 to the Dolphins with 16 minutes to go.

This time it was the Dolphins who would pay the price for having a player in the sin bin when Nicho Hynes caught the Dolphins sleeping and crossed on the short side to make it 20-12 with nine minutes to play.

The Falcons were coming home like a freight train when Siti Moceidreke crossed in the corner to make it 20-16 with four minutes left on the clock.

However time would run out for the fast-finishing Falcons side with an 80th minute penalty goal to Gamble rounding out the scoring for the Dolphins, who ran out 22-16 winners.

For the Falcons it was a case of what might have been after missing several potential scoring opportunities from the ball going to ground or determined Dolphins defence.

Dolphins coach Adam Mogg said after the game he was happy with his side's defence.

“I thought we did a good job on Nicho Hynes tonight, he’s a class player who could’ve snatched in the end if we let him,” Mogg said.

The Dolphins face Easts Tigers in Round 2.

The Falcons will play Tweed Seagulls.