Dolphins on top but just

Dolphins in action.

Jerry Lewis

The Ray White Noosa Dolphins find themselves top of the table following matches last Saturday. The Dolphins did their part in their 38-18 victory against Caboolture at Sunshine Beach in front of a good home crowd, and with a third loss of the year for reigning premiers University in going down to Brothers, the Noosa side have taken top spot in a crowded field with just 11 points separating the 1st and 6th placed teams. The Dolphins also have a bye in the final week of the season which does not attract any competition points.

Assistant Coach Mark Winder was happy for his charges who went into the match without the services of two of the seasons top performers in captain Levi Shaw and Jock Hansson on representative duties with Southeast Queensland at the Country Championships. “Every game is a challenge in the competition this year and to go in to matches without of our top line available can put us on the back foot,” Winder said. “However, our approach is that we adopt the ‘next man up’ mentality, no excuses. We must be prepared to cover absences from injury and availability, and with the injury toll we have had this year, it has been the right approach. It’s not just the starting replacements, but the performance of our reserve bench who really impressed on Saturday. They had a huge impact on the result and ultimately, were the difference between the two teams.”

The Dolphin forward pack again dominated in the set pieces giving good front foot ball for the attack to build on, however not all the opportunities were taken advantage of. Winder, whilst generally satisfied with the performance, did identify better attacking options could have been taken at times. When it was though, the home crowd were entertained with free-flowing exciting attacking rugby. “We need to work hard to get both defence and attack up to the standard we know we can achieve, and for that level to be maintained for the full 80 minutes. If we don’t, with the competition so close this year, we can just as quickly find ourselves slipping down the ladder,” he said.

KB’s A Grade player of the match honours went to winger Ethan Rogers with Pala Mailangi and Billy Tait again putting in strong performances.

In the earlier match, the Ray White Noosa Reserve Grade had a convincing win 45-5. Noting the poor starts to the previous matches, coach Rocco Perugini challenged his players to reverse that, and they followed the plan perfectly, going into half time with a 31-0 lead. “Our first half was definitely the best we have played all year,” Perugini said. “We needed to play with the confidence I know we can play with, focusing on attacking disciplined football. We did that right across the field. Our kicking game was on song and helped us maintain the pressure on the opposition. It was a simple half time talk, simply stay focused, don’t deviate from the game plan and maintain pressure.”

The second half though did go all the Dolphins way, with lapses in concentration and patience, but the Dolphins were able to regain composure to post two further tries before the full-time whistle. Perugini has given special mention to KB’s Player of the Match, Remi Livingston, with a personal best 25 point haul. Also impressing in an overall team effort were Matt Hasler, Nat Forrest and George Noble.

The Dolphins are away next week taking on Brothers at Kawana before returning to Sunshine Beach for the July 13 return match against Wynnum who currently sit just 7 points behind the Dolphins in third place. “Every match is a must win for us and with Wynnum being one of the three teams we suffered losses to this year, we know they will again pose a massive challenge,” said Winder.

The July 13 match will also be the Back to Noosa Day where all past players and supporters are encouraged to gather and catch up. “Each year, we dedicate one particular match at which we try and get as many former players and supporters, many of whom can’t get to matches each week, to get along,” said event organiser Tony Harmer. “We will have the opportunity to especially recognise the 1994, 2004 and 2014 teams, with both A Grade and Reserve Grade winning premierships in each of those 10, 20 and 30 year seasons. With our current A grade and Reserve Grade teams going well, it will be great to have a big attendance at the final home match before the semifinals.”

Matches this weekend at Brothers

• 2pm Reserve Gade

• 3.30 A Grade.

For all the latest information, including details of the Back to Noosa Day, check out the Dolphins Facebook and Instagram sites.