A double to fullback Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow led the Dolphins to an emotion-charged 20-14 win over the Raiders on Saturday night.
With heavy rain falling throughout the second half it was the forwards who led the way for the Dolphins, laying the foundation for halfback Sean O’Sullivan and Tabuai-Fidow to work their magic.
The Raiders were first to strike in the 14th minute when Jack Wighton took a pass from Danny Levi and powered over from close to the line.
A loose offload by Tesi Niu in the slippery conditions handed the Raiders a chance to extend their lead but Dolphins skipper Jesse Bromwich came up with a one-on-one steal on Hudson Young to defuse the situation.
Come the 23rd minute and Wighton was starring at the defensive end, denying Jamayne Isaako with a diving cover tackle that knocked the ball from the winger’s grasp.
A clever grubber by Tom Starling earned the Raiders a repeat set in the 29th minute and the Green Machine cashed in through winger Nick Cotric after slick lead-up work by Corey Harawira-Naera and Matt Timoko.
Dolphins hooker Jeremy Marshall-King was sin binned six minutes before the break for a hip drop and Jamal Fogarty knocked over the penalty goal to give Canberra a 12-0 lead.
Despite being a man down the Dolphins struck back when O’Sullivan grubbered and Seb Kris failed to clean up, allowing Tabuai-Fidow to pounce on the loose ball.
The Dolphins mounted pressure early in the second half when O’Sullivan earned a line dropout with a neat grubber but Mason Teague came up with a dropped ball and the pressure was released.
Another inch perfect grubber by O’Sullivan in the 63rd minute laid on a try for back-rower Tom Gilbert, who showed great desperation to get to the ball first. Isaako’s conversion tied it up at 12-12.
With 10 minutes to play, Tabuai-Fidow jumped out of dummy half close to the tryline and caught Young offside at marker. The Raider was sent to the bin and O’Sullivan landed the penalty goal to put the Dolphins up 14-12.
Just as the Dolphins took control, O’Sullivan was sin binned for making contact with Harawira-Naera’s head after the Raiders back-rower had kicked ahead and Fogarty slotted the penalty goal for 14-14.
With the Kayo Stadium crowd in full voice the Dolphins worked their way downfield and five-eighth Isaiya Katoa went to the line and put Tabuai-Fidow into a hole for the match-winning try.