Hammer haunts former club as Dolphins edge Cowboys

The latest Queensland derby produced an exciting encounter, with the Dolphins putting in an impressive first half to outpoint the Cowboys 32-22 in North Queensland.

While both sides were missing some of their major stars due to injuries and suspension, it did not stop fans flocking to sell out the stadium with 22,811 on hand to see the Cowboys go down to the NRL's newest club.

After a steady start to the game, the Dolphins got the ball rolling on the scoreboard in the eighth minute when Jamayne Isaako finished off a well-worked scrum play.

He was in again soon after with an impressive effort - outleaping Cowboys makeshift winger Brendan Elliot to reel in an Isaiya Katoa kick and push his side to an early 8-0 lead.

However, the Cowboys were not out of the game, with Kyle Feldt crossing for the home side's first try, in a scrum set-up that was remarkably similar to the Dolphins opener. 

Throughout the game and in the first half especially, former Cowboys fullback Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow proved a threat, helping set up a try, scoring two of his own and making 11 tackle breaks by the end of the match.

The former Queensland Maroons representative was the next to score and showed what he could do with a try that showcased his tackle-busting ability.

Isaako then completed his first-half hat-trick, with the try followed in quick succession by a four-pointer to another former Cowboy in Tom Gilbert. This saw the Dolphins rush out to a 26-12 lead at halftime, with Feldt sneaking in one more for the home side just before the break to give the Cowboys fans some hope.

While the locals lifted a notch to start the second half, and kept the Dolphins scoreless until a late penalty goal to Isaako in the 75th minute, the damage had been done.

Centre Valentine Holmes tried to will his team to turn around the result with a strong second half, which despite making a crucial error where he passed the ball off the ground, saw him also score a try which brought his side within touching distance of the visitors. 

However, they were not able to capitalise on their opportunities with the ball and gave up too much to the Dolphins in defence, especially in the first half and to rub salt into the wounds, the homecoming Hammer sealed the win with a late try to consign the Cowboys to their fourth loss.

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Story first published by: NRL.com

Colleen Edwards - NRL Reporter