Dolphins turn pro in ‘weird times’ as Bennett returns

Joel Gould |

Dolphins winger Jack Bostock (second right) is all smiles after his hat-trick against Parramatta.
Dolphins winger Jack Bostock (second right) is all smiles after his hat-trick against Parramatta.

Dolphins winger Jack Bostock conceded it was “weird” not having Wayne Bennett on deck for their electric – and professional – win over Parramatta last week, but the coach has recovered from illness and will be on deck for the home clash with Newcastle.

Without eight of their top 30 players available, the Dolphins won 44-16 over the Eels in Darwin. 

Bennett was back in Brisbane with the flu and assistant coach Kristian Woolf orchestrated the victory.

Bostock scored a career-first hat-trick, and when reflecting on the outstanding win channelled the late gonzo journalist Hunter S Thompson, who coined the phrase “when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro”. 

Hunter S Thompson
Late American author Hunter S Thompson has been channelled by the Dolphins’ Jack Bostock. (AP PHOTO)

There have been numerous interpretations of that saying, but the best in a sporting context is that in times of adversity those who channel and display their distinctive qualities and demonstrate professionalism end up excelling.

Without their coach, understrength and in oppressive humidity, the Dolphins backed their skill and scored eight tries in 25 minutes in the second half. 

They had to get NRL permission to play fullback Trai Fuller from outside the top 30, and he was man of the match in a stunning display.

“It was weird not having Wayne there, but it definitely wasn’t weird in a bad way,” Bostock said.

“It was probably weird in a good way for Woolfy because he got to be a head coach a bit sooner than he thought. He did a good job, but it was definitely different not having Wayne there with his little smirk and what he brings to the table.”

Dolphins coach Wayne Bennett
Dolphins coach Wayne Bennett is back after missing last week’s trip to Darwin because of flu. (Darren England/AAP PHOTOS)

With their big guns out – including Thomas Flegler, Herbie Farnworth, Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow and Felise Kaufusi –  the Dolphins stunned the Eels.

“The team is a lot more than the 17. It is the 30-odd you have in your squad,” Bostock said.

“Trai Fuller was the next man up (for Tabuai-Fidow) and he killed it for us.

“Having a lot of boys doing that helps us when someone is injured. The next player takes over and it feels like no one has left. 

“He is a little weapon, Trai. He is a rubber ball bouncing around everywhere. No one could hang on to him.”

The star quartet won’t be available against the Knights on Sunday at Suncorp Stadium, but Bennett will be after returning to training this week.

“He is alive and well, Wayne. You know what he is like. Nothing can beat him and he was back in full spirits,” Bostock said on Tuesday.

The Dolphins, third on the ladder, will face a Knights side without injured fullback Kalyn Ponga, but Bostock said they would not take their opponents for granted.

“That is definitely not what we think,” he said.

“They are a great side Newcastle and it will be good to play in front of our fans at Suncorp. 

“Hopefully we put on another great performance, but we definitely won’t be taking them lightly without Kalyn Ponga.”

AAP