In winning their first NRL game, the Dolphins found a special kind of story
If you are reading this, you have a team. You need to. Everyone who watches a sport, no matter what sport, has a team.
It could be a team you live and die for every day. It could be a team you loved a long time ago but have since evolved. It might be a team you picked up only recently, but now you can’t imagine your life without them.
You may have played for this team. Maybe you coached her. Maybe you were just watching her. It does not matter. You are your team, aren’t you? They cannot imagine life without them or simply do not want to.
Do me a favor and think of your team. Think about when they made you happy. Think about when they made you sad. Reflect on when they hurt you. Think about when they didn’t. God it was amazing wasn’t it?
We all have lives — rich, fulfilling lives that have so many ups and downs and ups and downs and all the rest — but when someone asks you how many times your team has taken you up and down, you don’t really need to be looking You after or think about it because it’s already in your head, isn’t it?
Teams are passed from one person to the next. Maybe it was your father who gave it to you, or your grandfather, grandmother, a coach, a friend or a parent.
It doesn’t matter, what matters is that you have it now and it’s something you’d love to pass on.
Maybe you give it to your son or daughter or niece or nephew or a child you know from here. Who can tell?
There’s only one thing that lives inside you, a flame that keeps burning. It’s not like you’re going to force it on anyone, no way, never.
It’s just that you love it and through that love someone else would learn it too. You could have it handed to them as it was handed to you.
That’s why it’s important for the Dolphins to defeat the Roosters. As the sun rises over Redcliffe, you need to understand the importance of that, because winning is the best thing a team can do, as long as it actually succeeds.
Dolphins have been around for a long time. If you’re a bit of a Queensland fanatic about you, they’re better known as Redcliffe and have a turbulent history. If you don’t mind, 10 premierships since 1947, and every one of them matters because the dolphins say they matter, damn it.
They will also exist for a long time. This isn’t a Crushers situation, where chaos reigns and the rough times would eventually flatten a team under the weight of its own existence. The NRL is committed. The dolphins are engaged. These red, white and gold boys are here to stay.
Were you a little underwhelmed going into this game on Sunday? It’s okay if you were. Yes, the Dolphins were the first new NRL team in 16 years. Their jerseys looked like vanilla cola cans. You didn’t sign a bunch of stars. Calling themselves “The Dolphins” instead of having an actual, geographic location is a misstep they will grapple with for years to come.
But damn if it didn’t feel special. Damn it if it didn’t feel like a real, important thing when Jesse Bromwich first led her onto the field. Damn if it didn’t get the heart racing as Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow secured a break from Jeremy Marshall-King to score the club’s first try.
And damn if it didn’t feel good when the game came to them.
It’s nothing against the roosters, you have to understand. This isn’t about her, not really. On that day, they existed only as a rock for the dolphins to break, a force to be reckoned with.
Arthur Beetson played for the Roosters many years ago, but before and after that he played for the Dolphins and when the two teams played it meant something.
They were even at half-time and it doesn’t matter how we got there. What’s important is what happened next because things changed slowly, gradually enough for good referees to see it coming and then it happened all at once because that game was tight until it wasn’t anymore.
Connelly Lemuelu – a full-back who has found a home with the tough stuff ran right over Sam Walker for a try with a good ball from Sean O’Sullivan.
Then Isaiya Katoa found a change of pace in the final tackle that ended with Jamayne Isaako getting past in the corner.
Katoa did it again for Isaako shortly after, then reality came into focus and everyone realized that the dolphins would do it.
When the Arthur Beetson Legacy Medal was placed around the neck of a deserving Felise Kaufusi, all the country that wasn’t red, white and blue was ready for the Phins.
The Dolphins are playing in Canberra next week. It won’t be easy, even though they play at Redcliffe. It was a special effort for them to win on Sunday and it’s difficult to muster that level of steadfastness two weeks in a row, even for a Wayne Bennett team.
After that it gets even more difficult. As nice as this day was, the dolphins could still manage with a wooden spoon.
But even if they did, today they will have that win, that win they can hold on to forever, that started forever as soon as the final whistle blew.
By winning that game, Bennett’s side created a memory for their squad, their fans and everyone else in rugby league that will live on for years to come.
You can’t exaggerate what that win means, because a team can win a hundred games or a dozen premierships, but they can only play their first game for the first time once, and if that game slips through their fingers, they can never come return.
So think about the team you love. Think of the team someone gave you all those years ago and think of all the ups and downs that team has taken you through all those years since and think of all the games and all the fans who came before you.
Now imagine for a moment that this is your first time there. The first game your team ever played, the game from which the rest of their existence would stretch for better or worse, the game where there was no yesterday and only tomorrow, only a future that knew no bounds had, but your own dreams.
Imagine handing the team to whoever comes after you and telling them you were there when it happened, when they started it with a win. The last time this happened for a new NRL team was in 1998. Well, before Sunday it was a rare thing, but now we’ve all seen it.
You’ve seen it. You’ve seen the Dolphins run onto the field at Lang Park with their chins up and their hearts full and you’ve seen them take on the best the NRL had to offer and you’ve seen them won and you saw grown men cry over what this team had done.
They could win a thousand more games, but they can never win again for the first time. Whatever happens next will happen next, but what has already happened is a damn thing.
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2023-03-06/dolphins-nrl-first-game-roosters-rugby-league/102056754 In winning their first NRL game, the Dolphins found a special kind of story