The Dolphins have survived a controversial finish to record their second win from as many matches, defeating Canberra 20-14 in Redcliffe.
Halfback Sean O’Sullivan was sent to the sin bin with seven minutes remaining after making contact with Corey Harawira-Naera, referee Todd Smith ruling it was high and late.
Jamal Fogarty slotted the penalty goal to level the scores at 14-all, before Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow grabbed his second try of the night to give the Dolphins another remarkable victory.
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“I’m just not sure where that was all going,” coach Wayne Bennett said after the match.
“He (Harawira-Naera) kicked the ball in a bad position, running flat out at Sean. Sean was going in the opposite direction but in the same line.
“If there was head contact it was an absolute accident. At no stage did Sean try to tackle him. It was just a collision.
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“At the end of the day our game is a collision game. We’ve got to recognise that.”
O’Sullivan’s sin-binning actually made it 12-a-side, after the Raiders had Hudson Young binned a few minutes earlier for not being square at marker.
“I thought the other sin-bin was pretty tough on them, as well,” Bennett said.
“It’s a huge price to pay, 10 minutes in the bin. If they’d done two or three in a row, I would understand that. But that was just a one-off.”
Canberra coach Ricky Stuart refused to be drawn on the controversy, saying he “doesn’t know that it changes it (the result)”.
The Dolphins are, at least temporarily, on top of the NRL ladder on points difference, having accounted for the Roosters and Raiders in consecutive weeks. They’ve become the third expansion side, after Brisbane in 1988 and Melbourne in 1998, to win its first two matches.
They now face a trip to Newcastle on Friday, with a very real chance of making it three wins in a row.
“Pretty proud of the effort the boys put in,” said captain Jesse Bromwich.
“In the NRL we just roll straight onto the next week, our first away game, it’s important that we get our bodies right and look forward to a tough game.”
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