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Dolphins star's stunning rise amid Origin void as 'soft' Dragons ...

Dolphins star’s stunning rise amid Origin void as ‘soft’ Dragons blasted — Big Hits

The Dolphins have beaten the Dragons 26-12 on the back of masterclasses from Jeremy Marshall-King and Jamayne Isaako at Kayo Stadium.

Marshall-King controlled the match from dummyhalf, while Isaako scored a double and 18 points in his 100th NRL game.

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Round 13


Dragons Press Conference | 03:30


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Marshall-King got off to a rocky start when he was penalised for a late hit on Jayden Sullivan as the Dragons scored first through a penalty goal to Zac Lomax.

Jack Bird dived over from close range as the Dragons extended their lead moments after they were denied a try for a double movement.

Anthony Milford produced a pinpoint kick for Isaako to leap high and get the Dolphins back in the contest.

Marshall-King produced a superb pass to put Mark Nicholls over as the Dolphins took the lead.

Dragons skipper Jack de Belin was sin-binned for a cannon-ball tackle as Milford pounced to extend the Dolphins’ advantage.

Toby Couchman dived over off a scrum right on half-time to cut the Dolphins’ lead to 18-12 at the break.

Brenko Lee put Isaako over for a classy double to celebrate his 100th match milestone in style.

Isaako put the icing on the cake with a penalty goal in the 77th minute to take his tally to 18 for the match as the Dolphins cemented their spot in the top eight.

Fletch and Hindy interrogate Blues squad | 06:42



Jeremy Marshall-King stepped up the absence of the Dolphins’ Origin stars to lead his side to victory with a masterclass at dummyhalf.

The Dolphins’ depth was tested minus Origin stars Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow and Tom Gilbert, while Felise Kaufusi was suspended, but Marshall-King controlled proceedings as he has all season.

The New Zealand hooker finished with 52 run metres, two tackle busts, an offload, a linebreak, a linebreak assist, a try assist and 40 tackles.

Michael Ennis lauded the impact of Marshall-King’s passing game which turned the match in the Dolphins’ favour.

“Marshall-King had a great first half,” Ennis said.

“His pass selection close to the line has been superb this season.

“He set up a great try from Mark Nicholls.

“Then lovely width on his pass for Anthony Milford’s try.

“The Dolphins scored three tries in six minutes and went from being down 6-0 to leading 18-6 and that was the difference in the end.”


The Dolphins have had plenty of individual success stories in 2023, but none better than Jamayne Isaako, who is in career best form after scoring another double in his 100th match.

Isaako finished with 110 run metres, four tackle busts, an offload, two linebreaks and two tries to take his tally for the season to 12.

Michael Ennis believes the Dolphins’ comeback from 6-0 down early was sparked by Isaako’s brilliance.

“It started with an individual piece of brilliance form Jamayne Isaako,” Ennis said.

“He is putting together a great season up there for the Dolphins.

“He scored a great try. His 11th try of the season.”

Brenko Lee set up Isaako for his second in the second half to push the lead back out to 12.

“He will grab a second one in game number 100,” Warren Smith said.

“What a night for the centurion. The 10th double of his career.”

Shane Flanagan commended Isaako for being the ultimate professional from his defence to his goal kicking in a masterful display.

“Isaako was everywhere tonight,” Flanagan said.

“He has been powerful at the back of the field and he came up with two tries and good goal kicking as well.

“A really big night for Jamayne Isaako in his 100th game.”


The Dragons had their chances against the Dolphins, but ultimately their defence wasn’t up to NRL standard on a number of occasions and that was the difference between the two sides.

Michael Ennis labelled the Dragons’ front line defence as soft in particular in the lead-up to tries to Mark Nicholls and Anthony Milford.”

“Defensively the Dragons just have to improve,” Ennis said.

“When the Dolphins maintained possession they just blew the Dragons’ ruck apart.

“Honestly there was some feeble defence on their goal line. Some really ordinary defence.

“Even the Anthony Milford try was really soft.

“At this level. At the NRL level their goal line defence has to improve.”

“The Mark Nicholls try was very soft,” Greg Alexander added.

To make matters worse stand in skipper Jack de Belin could be looking at a suspension for a cannon-ball tackle that saw him sin-binned in the first half in a play that swung momentum in the Dolphins’ favour.


Kodi Nikorima starts at fullback for Origin star Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow as the Dolphins host the St George Illawarra Dragons in a clash at Kayo Stadium.

Both sides are 1-17.

Brenko Lee is fit to play with one-game rookie sensation Valynce Te Whare on the bench.

Anthony Milford takes over from Nikorima at five-eighth, while Mark Nicholls returns in a timely boost with Felise Kaufusi suspended.

For the Dragons Jayden Sullivan starts at halfback for Maroons star Ben Hunt, with Moses Mbye recalled on the bench.

Michael Molo comes into the front row for Blake Lawrie (finger) and will partner up with his brother Francis.

The sixth placed Dolphins can keep the pressure on the top four with a win, while the last placed Dragons just want to get off the bottom of the ladder.

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