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Hammer and Herbie sizzle as Dolphins stun Sharks

Another five-star display from Maroons superstar Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow led the Dolphins to an upset 30-28 win over the Sharks at PointsBet Stadium on Thursday night.

With centre Herbie Farnworth and five-eighth Kodi Nikorima also standing tall the Dolphins exploded out of the blocks to go up 22-0 before giving up their lead, taking it back thanks to a Hammer special on the hour mark, and surviving a late scare when Nicho Hynes had a chance to send the game to golden point.

On the back of earning a repeat set it was the Dolphins striking first in the 11th minute when veteran forward Kenny Bromwich held off three defenders to slip an offload for Max Plath to dive over. Jamayne Isaako's conversion made it 6-0.

Three minutes later a mistake by Ronaldo Mulitalo in the ruck handed the visitors field position to snare a second try through Farnworth.

Max Plath Try

Midway through the half the Dolphins converted their dominance into a third try when Jack Bostock showed great strength to get the ball down despite having Will Kennedy and Blayke Brailey all over him.

Young halfback Isaiya Katoa went right in the 25th minute and found Nikorima who delivered a pinpoint grubber for Jake Averillo to follow through and score his sixth try of the season. Isaako converted to make it 22-0.

Royce Hunt Try

The Sharks finally got on the board in the 29th minute when bench forward Royce Hunt took a short ball from Hynes and powered over from close range for his first try of the season. Hynes added the extras to cut the margin to 16.

Back-to-back penalties against the Dolphins invited the Sharks into the red zone and it was edge forward Briton Nikora taking a short ball from Brailey and busting through a Katoa tackle to pull it back to 22-12.

A penalty against Dolphins lock Ray Stone for a strip put the Sharks on the attack and Mulitalo took the final pass off Kayal Iro score wide out as the home side brought the score back to 22-18.

Remarkably by the 53rd minute the Sharks had the lead when Kennedy finished off a long-range special that featured great lead-up from Jesse Ramien and Nikora.

Just as the Dolphins appeared to be wavering they regained the lead courtesy of a length of the field try by freakish fullback Tabuai-Fidow, who left five Sharks defenders in his wake to post one of the tries of the season.

Ronaldo Mulitalo Try

With 12 minutes to play the Dolphins had a chance to go up by six points but Isaako pushed his penalty attempt wide and the score stayed at 28-24.

A penalty against Hynes for an escort in the 71st minute gave Isaako another crack at two points and he made no mistake to put his team ahead 30-24.

Inside the last minute and with the game seemingly gone it was Nikora finding space on the right and putting Sione Katoa away for a try that handed Hynes the chance to send the game to golden point but he sprayed the ball wide and the Dolphins had their first win in Sydney for the season.

Match Snapshot

  • The Sharks lost their captain's challenge in the 20th minute.
  • Sharks centre Jesse Ramien was put on report in the 24th minute for a dangerous tackle.
  • The Dolphins' controlled first-half performance saw them complete 19 of 20 sets at 95 per cent.
  • The Dolphins lost their captain's challenge in the 45th minute.
  • Dolphins winger Jack Bostock was placed on report for a dangerous tackle in the 58th minute.
  • Sharks right winger Sione Katoa has scored seven tries in his last eight games.

Herbie Farnworth Try

  • Dolphins centre Herbie Farnworth had 19 runs for 215 metres and had four tackle breaks to go with his first-half try.
  • Dolphins fullback Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow has scored nine tries in his last seven NRL games. He finished the night with 251 run metres and 10 tackle breaks.
  • Sharks winger Ronaldo Mulitalo has scored 33 tries in 31 games at PointsBet Stadium.
  • Veteran forward Felise Kaufusi racked up 14 runs for 147 metres for the Dolphins.
  • Sharks centre Kayal Iro made 169 metres from 20 runs, including 73 post-contact metres.

Hynes has the chance to tie it up at full time

Play of the GameĀ 

On the back of his stunning Origin hat-trick, Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow delivered another highlight reel moment at Shark Park to put his team back in front in the 59th minute. Taking a bomb five metres out from his own line, the Hammer ran backwards to evade the defence before slipping into overdrive and beating five tacklers in an electrifying 98-metre run to the line for his ninth try of the season.

Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow Try

What they SaidĀ 

"You can't afford to turn your TV off when the Dolphins are playing! Remarkable the way they can hang in there, get in front and come back and all the things they did there tonight, pretty special. We came off a bye and you usually come off a bye pretty fresh, we maximised that, and then we got back to getting tired and they got back to their groove and it was a real game after that. Hammer is a special player, we're very lucky to have him. Hammer and Steve Renouf would be the two players I've coached that have that absolute magic to get to the tryline and create that special moment." - Dolphins coach Wayne Bennett

Dolphins: Round 15

"We missed the kick totally there at the start, looked numb in defence to start the game. Got ourselves to a point where it was looking awful and then did something about it. I was really pleased with the second half and then we just have one moment with Hammer, game over. We paid the price with that last kick to the middle, broken line chase, and opened it up. Hammer's a terrific player and he fleeced us on that play. Nicho has to wear it because he's the kicker [missing the shot for golden point] but it hurts everyone. He'll be OK." - Sharks coach Craig Fitzgibbon

Sharks: Round 15

What's Next

The Sharks have a bye in Round 16 before facing the Bulldogs in the opening game of Round 17 at Accor Stadium.

The Dolphins host the Storm at Suncorp Stadium in Round 16.

Acknowledgement of Country

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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