Former NZ Kiwis winger Jamayne Isaako has celebrated his 100th NRL appearance with a 18-point haul to inspire the expansion Dolphins past St George Dragons 26-12 at Redcliffe.
After falling behind early, the newcomers scored 18 unanswered points midway through the first half to overrun their rivals and consolidate their position inside the top-eight playoff contenders.
Isaako had his first try, when he chased a high kick from half Anthony Milford and outjumped his marker to open the Dolphins scoring in the 21st minute, then secured his second after halftime, when he took advantage of an overlap.
He punctuated his display with a flawless five-from-five kicking performance off the tee.
After 77 games with Brisbane Broncos and 11 for Gold Coast Titans, Christchurch-born Isaako, 26, brought up his century of appearances for his third NRL club.
"He came to the Broncos because of me," reflected Dolphins coach Wayne Bennett. "He's someone everyone wanted at the time, because he was a schoolboy star.
"We have a good relationship. He didn't want the boys to rain on his parade and took the game by the scruff of the neck - he wasn't going to come off the field from his 100th game without playing well."
Isaako is among the competition's top tryscorers with 12 this season - behind only Parramatta's Maika Sivo (14) - while leading the scoring rankings with 138 points.
Both teams were depleted by State of Origin commitments, with the Dolphins missing forward Tom Gilbert and fullback Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, and the Dragons without star half Ben Hunt. Veteran Dolphins forward Felise Kaufusi also sat out on suspension.
The result has the Brisbane-based team in sixth on the NRL table, with seven wins from 12 games, before they meet NZ Warriors for the first time at Auckland next Saturday.
Dolphins 26 (Isaako 2, Nicholls & Milford tries; Isaako 4 conversions & penalty) St George Dragons 12 (Bird & Couchman tries; Lomax conversion & penalty)
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