Roosters coach Trent Robinson praises Dolphins following shock Round 1 upset

Roosters coach Trent Robinson has admitted there were no real surprises from the Dolphins despite his side suffering a Round 1 shock against the NRL’s newest franchise.

In the most notable performance of the opening round of the 2023 season, Wayne Bennett helped orchestrate a huge 28-18 excitement in front of a boisterous crowd at Suncorp Stadium.

Teenage debutante Isaiya Katoa excelled in the fifth-eighth role, while Felise Kaufusi and Jeremy Marshall-King had a point to prove with their new colors.

Speaking to the media after the game, Robinson took nothing away from the Dolphins despite his own team’s struggles.

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“We knew they would play through their forwards and their nine,” he said.

“We knew that Sean [O’Sullivan] would kick her in some places and they would work hard.

“Basically, they did it really well and that’s why they won. It wasn’t difficult from a game plan point of view, not from an attitude point of view. We knew what they would bring…but our ability to fight that was poor.

“We were being beaten well in the ruck… Forwards were kind of dominated there and they opened us up a couple of times in the first half and then definitely at the start of the second half.

“We didn’t create enough momentum to take our chances – we had some chances on the sidelines but we didn’t have the momentum. We didn’t win the ruck and we had a bad swing at the back…it was tough.

“We worked hard and got what we deserved in the end.”

Already missing star trio Angus Crichton, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Joseph Manu, the competition’s heavyweights were also hit by multiple HIAs in the 80 minutes.

Victor Radley played just 29 minutes before missing his estimate and leaving another gaping hole in the Roosters’ centre-forward’s shares – but Robinson made no apologies for the performance.

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“We obviously had Rads and Brandon [Smith] in the first half – we just had a rotation of forwards going on and off and then I had 18th Man, go ahead,” he said.

“We ended up with just one rotation of strikers playing long minutes, some of the guys had to play a lot longer than we expected. I think we had three or four HIAs, so the rotation wasn’t ideal.

“We’ve got enough people to do this — we needed a little bit more of the whole pack, not just the middle boys.

“That was based on us and what we were trying to do, we weren’t doing it well enough, and what the dolphins were doing – they were really pushing the jerk and they were doing it really well.”

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