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Dolphins stun Gold Coast Titans in history-making comeback win

The Dolphins have produced an NRL comeback for the ages, defeating Gold Coast 28-26 in Brisbane.

The Dolphins have produced an NRL comeback for the ages, defeating Gold Coast 28-26 in Brisbane. Photo: AAP

Wayne Bennett’s never-say-die Dolphins have equalled the greatest comeback in premiership history to overpower Gold Coast in an extraordinary 28-26 win at Suncorp Stadium.

Behind 26-0 after 26 minutes, the Dolphins appeared headed for a thrashing but fought back in stunning fashion.

It was brilliant and barnstorming and showcased the special qualities the players in this Dolphins outfit have embedded deep within them.

Bennett has overseen scores of remarkable achievements in his career but this courage-personified win, in the NRL’s Anzac Round, surely must be right up there.

“I always think it is possible. I never doubted that,” Bennett said, when asked whether he believed his team could defy the odds and win.

“They showed some wonderful qualities. They had to. They put themselves in that place. I was obviously pleased with that.”

The Titans collapsed in a screaming heap when the blowtorch was applied.

Dolphins centre Euan Aitken crashed over with brute strength and sheer will power to give his side the lead for the first time in the 74th minute. They were never going to give it up.

The record for a winning comeback in premiership history dating to 1908 was set in 1998, when North Queensland recovered from 26-0 down to beat Penrith 36-28.

The Dolphins, in their first season, have incredibly matched it.

Bennett’s side had so many heroes.

Teenage half Isaiya Katoa was immense. Prop Jarrod Wallace played the game of his life and winger Robert Jennings had a rollercoaster 10-minute stint in the second half of which legends are made.

He crossed just before halftime from a bomb to kick-start the comeback. Wallace put prop Mark Nicholls over after the break, then barged over himself from close range.

An extraordinary few minutes of Jennings’ career then unfolded.

With the Dolphins trailing 26-18, he stumbled and fell within one metre of the line on a last play.

No Titans player was touching him but for some reason he didn’t reach out to score.

“He was worried about a double movement but he hadn’t even reached the tryline,” Bennett explained.

Minutes later Jennings lost the ball over the line, but he got another crack at it and made it count with a scintillating one-hander in the corner.

Gold Coast fullback AJ Brimson was a late inclusion from a hamstring tear and was scintillating early.

The Titans pack dominated at the start, with second-rower David Fifita, hooker Chris Randall, lock Isaac Liu and skipper Tino Fa’asuamaleaui on fire.

Brimson split the Dolphins wide open to set up hooker Randall for the opening try.

Liu crashed through feeble Titans defence to score, then sent Fa’asuamaleaui over untouched before half Tanah Boyd went in for one of his own from a Randall ball.

At that point the Titans looked like they could score 50 points but they inexplicably switched off.

The Dolphins wanted it more. It was that simple.

Titans coach Justin Holbrook was disconsolate, a week after his side gave up 33 points in the second-half against the Broncos.

“I am extremely disappointed,” he said.

“We can’t have that continue. We have to be able to change momentum when things aren’t going our way.”

-AAP

Topics: NRL
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