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Round 4 Sunday wrap: Dolphins hold on to beat surging Seagulls

A battered and bruised Redcliffe Dolphins banded together on the back of a Cody Hunter hat-trick to hold on 36-22 in a brilliant XXXX Rivalry Round win over Wynnum Manly Seagulls.

Hunter’s heroics started in the fourth minute when he linked up with Jeremy Hawkins off a scrum, but the tide quickly turned as Seagulls big men Caius Faatili and Max Plath ran riot up the middle, the latter crossing in the 11th minute.

Matthew Milson went over a few minutes later but the topsy-turvy contest soon swayed back to the home side, who scored three tries in six minutes largely through the influence of halfback Hunter and centre Valynce Te Whare causing all sorts of damage down the left side.

Another Hunter try minutes after the resumption made it 28-10 but a beautiful ‘slips catch’ in the 55th minute had Tony Pellow running 95m for Wynnum Manly to gather steam.

It was all to play for when Plath scored his second 10 minutes later, and a Josh Rogers conversion made it 28-22.

A costly penalty put paid to the momentum, allowing Hunter – who ended with a personal haul of 24 points – to slot a penalty goal from 39m out in the 69th minute, before Trai Fuller put the icing in the cake of Redcliffe’s first win of the season with a try in the shadows of full time.

The Dolphins prevailed despite nursing “a few bangs” according to coach Ben Te’o, including five-eighth Connor Williams who left the field after 25 minutes with a knee injury, while Valynce Te Whare battled through a leg injury later in the game.

“We had a lot of adversity, losing our half and trying to make things work, so I was happy with the guys’ effort,” he said.

“There was guys in all sorts of different positions towards the end there, backrowers in centres, and it was all over the shop, so we just hung in there.”

Te’o said it was clear the team’s attitude had shifted after being thumped at Burleigh the week prior and hoped taking down a top team could help set his side on the right path, but paid tribute to Wynnum Manly for keeping them honest all game.

He will be relying on young players the likes of Ryan Jackson to keep improving after he and veteran Dunamis Lui changed the momentum of the game off the bench.

“(Jackson) was my standout. I would have given him players’ player. Cody Hunter got it, but Ryan Jackson for me was impressive. He’s young, he was against his old club, 19 years old playing in the front row, knocking out big minutes it was awesome to see,” Te’o said.

Jackson, who played Auswide Bank Mal Meninga Cup and Hastings Deering Colts at Seagulls, said it was humbling to hear the coach’s praise.

The 2022 Queensland Under 18 Emerging Origin squad member said it was pleasing to bring the energy he needed for the team – and to get bragging rights on ex-teammates Caius Faatili and Max Plath.

“I was thinking about it this morning about who’s playing and obviously there was a little bit of a target on my head,” he said.

“I remember Max Plath, he was shouting to the boys to come at me at the start. There was definitely a bit of rivalry there.”

Jackson said a warm welcome to the club had him settled and in the right mindset to play the role he believes can influence the players around him to reach the high standards they will need to beat more teams of the Seagulls ilk.

“Mindset stays the same. It’s come on the field with that energy and when you’re out there talking, lifting up, people get around you and when you’re energetic, the people around you become energetic, it becomes contagious and that’s what the team needs, just that contagious energy to keep the middles pumping and keep the errors low,” he said.

The Dolphins will travel to take on Souths Logan Magpies in Round 5, while Wynnum Manly hosts Tweed Seagulls.

For a wrap of Saturday's results, click here.

Main image: Jeremy Hawkins slides through before putting Cody Hunter away for a try. Photos: Jacob Grams/QRL

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