Dolphins have a bumpy win over the Knights as Wayne Bennett slams Felise Kaufusi’s performance

The Dolphins have set the stage for a first heavyweight clash with Brisbane after continuing their perfect start to life in the NRL with a 36-20 win over Newcastle.

Wayne Bennett’s men started their first season with a three-of-three on Friday night and conceded it was their ugliest win yet.

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Bennett said his team played “garbage” football and took aim at star striker Felise Kaufusi after a poor performance.

The great enforcer dropped the ball multiple times and was flagged twice and also spent time in the sin box.

During the post-game press conference, Bennett was asked if he was concerned that Kaufusi would not be available for next week’s delicious derby with the Broncos. However, the veteran coach was more concerned about the second rower’s costly handling errors.

“I’m more worried about his (buyer’s) three dropped balls than anything else,” Bennett said.

Felise Kaufusi is scapegoated against the Knights for 10 minutes. Credit: AAP

“He shouldn’t be (happy with his game).

“He wants to avoid me for a few days. I have no doubt that he will not be pleased to see my face.”

The Knights were brave despite nine players being out and three debutants sitting on the bench at McDonald Jones Stadium, with a shoulder injury from Daniel Saifiti adding to their woes.

Halfback Jackson Hastings ended the game off the field for a concussion check from whiplash – which he passed – having earlier combined well with Lachlan Miller and Tyson Gamble.

The Knights fought back valiantly twice and delivered the evening’s attempt to take a 16-14 lead early in the second half when Bradman combined Best and Gamble from 20 yards and Miller went 70 yards to score untouched.

But ultimately their lack of experience showed when the hosts disappeared from the field with Hastings after a late goal by Kaufusi and Kalyn Ponga was sidelined indefinitely with concussion.

This means the first game between the Dolphins and the Broncos next Friday will be close to a top-flight match, with Brisbane also going unbeaten this weekend.

Tesi Niu scores a try for the Dolphins against the Knights. Credit: Getty Images

“It’s the easiest game in the world to coach next week,” Bennett said after the game.

“These are the tough games (against the Knights). These are the pressure games.

“Everyone will want to play (in the Brisbane derby).

“If you’re a footballer, you’re going to want to be there, at the best stadium in Australia. I don’t think anyone needs to be motivated to be there.”

Former bronco Tesi Niu scored three tries as the Dolphins troubled the Knights on the left flank while containing the dangerous Dom Young well.

Niu’s former Brisbane teammate Jamayne Isaako scored the match sealer after another ex-Bronco, Brenko Lee, took him to 12-man space with the Dolphins after Kaufusi was trapped for his late shot.

Kodi Nikorima also grabbed a four before the break when he transitioned from the dummy half.

But the Knights held the lead to four points with tries against Gamble and Miller.

Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow fell on a loose ball after a Connelly Lemuelu bust, Niu grabbed his third down the left wing and Isaako bagged a late brace down the right wing as the Dolphins ran away with the game.

With AAP

Tim Paine receives honor guard after retiring from cricket

Tim Paine receives honor guard after retiring from cricket–c-10077292 Dolphins have a bumpy win over the Knights as Wayne Bennett slams Felise Kaufusi’s performance

James Brien

James Brien is a 24ssports U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. James Brien joined 24ssports in 2021 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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