Another tight win by the Dolphins

Player of the Match Kye Atkinson on another decisive run.

Jerry Lewis

The Sunshine Coast Rugby Union Premiership continues to deliver nail biting finishes with 3, 5 and 7 points separating teams in last Saturdays 3 matches and only 9 points separating 1st and 4th on the ladder. Rugby returns to Sunshine Beach this weekend when the Dolphins take on Caboolture in another must win match.

For the Ray White Noosa Dolphins, their 48-45 victory at Caloundra has secured second position on that ladder, only 2 points behind leaders University. In a match that saw 14 tries scored, both sides displayed patience and resilience for the full 80 minutes and an additional 8 minutes of injury time. In the end though, it was the sole penalty kick of the day by the Dolphins that proved the difference on the scoreboard.

Whilst try counts were the same, the game plans by each side were polar opposites; the Lighthouses relying on their huge forward pack bashing and barging whilst the Dolphins prepared to spread the ball between backs and forwards using the width of the field. The styles were no more evidenced than in the match statistics that saw 6 of the 7 tries put on by the Lighthouses scored by the tight five whereas the Dolphins shared the spoils more evenly, 4 to the forwards and 3 to the backs. Notwithstanding the closeness of the score, Dolphins coach Jim McKay was very happy with how his side performed. ‘We are finally getting into the type of football we want to play. They did some really good things out there today, and whilst we have a long way to go, I can see our plans coming together’ McKay said.

The Dolphins got a way to a flyer with centre James Wilson-Bishop taking advantage of a solid set piece scrum to score under the posts in the first minute of the game. The Lighthouses were quick to hit back, pressuring the Dolphins with raid after raid eventually piercing the defence through the middle closing the gap to 7-5. In response, the Dolphins held possession putting together a number of phases before Noosa Jock Hannson picked up a loose ball running 70 meters to score and put the Dolphins 14-5 ahead at the 20 minute mark. Caloundra hit back with two further tries giving them the half time advantage.

The second half was no less thrilling, with the Dolphins taking the lead back after 5 minutes. Will Christie again taking advantage of the sold Noosa scrum, scooted from the scrum base, feeding the newest Dolphin Joey Caputo with a neat pass, Caputo then gifting an open tryline to Josh Munro to score. A second try to the Dolphins was quickly responded to by Caloundra with the teams going try for try. With 5 minutes of regular time remaining, and the score 41-40 in Noosa’s favour, Dolphins Captain Levi Shaw took advantage of excellent lead up work to score out wide and the conversion by Ross Magnus appeared to have the Dolphins safely home 48-40; if not for the dreaded injury time. At the 84th minute mark, well into injury time, a cross-field kick by Caloundra resulted in a further try, narrowing the gap 48-45. The restart was not good for the Dolphins, failing to regain possession however dominant defence and a forced error was enough to hold out.

Dolphins Kye Atkinson was a standout across all aspects of the match with dominant attacking runs and impeccable defence earning him the KB’s Player of the Match. Josh Munro and Joey Caputo also in the points.

The Ray White Reserve Grade again left their victory to the final seconds with a penalty goal to take a 22-10 victory that has kept them on top of the ladder. Coach Rocco Perugini was impressed in the persistence that his charges showed, despite not being able to convert good phases into points at critical times. Veteran Jay Moffat continues to defy father time in his KB’s Player of the Match Performance, with captain Reon Fortington, Hernan Gispert and Conrad Trotman also impressing.

This Saturday, both sides take on Caboolture at home in matches that must be won to retain their ladder positions. ‘In such a tight competition, we must keep on improving and putting wins on the board’ coach Jim McKay said, urging all the Dolphin Supporters to get to the matches.

Matches this weekend

• Reserve Grade 2pm

• A Grade 3.30pm

For all the updated information and team announcements go to the Dolphins Facebook page.