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Dolphins captain Jesse Bromwich is hoping the emotion of yet another ‘first’ for the club will be behind his team when the side run out for their opening round match against the Roosters in Round 1.
While it was a long build up for fans to see their team finally hit the field, for the players that went down to the Gold Coast Titans in their Round 2 Pre-season Challenge match at Kayo Stadium, the preparations have been comparatively short, with full squad only training together for six weeks before the game.
“It felt surreal; felt like a long time coming,” Bromwich told media following the game about running out in front of a home crowd for the first time.
“I think it’s a bit of emotion running out (tonight), hopefully we’ve got that out of the way and we’ll look on to a very tough game against the Roosters.
“It’s our first game here and running out to a packed-out Kayo Stadium, it’s really nice, a lot of the fans are sticking around and you can see they all love the place and they’ve been a part of this place for a long time.
“We’re obviously the first NRL side, but this club has been here for a long time, so it’s nice to be part of a bit of history for this club.”
Since the start of pre-season training late last year, the Dolphins have been busy off of the field as well, with preparations for their inaugural season in the NRL involving more than just getting players on the field.
Their recent club season launch saw the official unveiling of Bromwich as their captain, while during this past week; club representatives and the full top squad of players attended the launch of Stan’s three-part documentary series ‘Dawn of the Dolphins’, outlining how the club came to be the first expansion club in the NRL since the Titans in 2007 and the build-up to their first official game.
Speaking at the launch, club CEO Terry Reader said the important thing for him was “the ability to tell our story, which isn’t about wins and losses, it’s about what went on to build a club inside 12 months”.
However, the club will be judged on their on-field performances and captain Bromwich didn’t shy away from the hard work needed following their 40-16 loss to the Gold Coast.
It seemed the occasion did overawe the players who were slow off the mark from the kick-off, allowing three quick tries within the opening 11 minutes in the game to put the whole side on the backfoot, with Jack Bostock’s try late in the first half preventing too many blushes.
“I didn’t like the way we started in both halves, we gave up too much possession with our penalties and our completion rate … I think a few of our guys did fairly well, but we played like a team where this was our first game together and I think it showed,” Bromwich said.
“Of course we need to be better; we’re not really happy with the way we performed, but we’ll take the positives out of what we’ve done.
“Obviously, there’s a few things we need to work on, some of our defence and our edge defence there was pretty leaky at times, but we’ll go back with the video and work extremely hard … to make that better.
“We had a decent pre-season, (but) obviously … we didn’t want to play that way and that’s not how we prepared to play.
“I think it probably wasn’t ideal for the club having six guys coming back after Christmas [following the Rugby League World Cup] and (we) probably would have liked to have gotten together before that, but it is what it is, that’s past.
“But we know what we need to work on and we’ll go and work really hard at doing that. It’s our first game together; we had a very short preseason together (and) we’re only going to get better from here.
“This this going to probably be a tough game to watch back, but one that’s needed and we’ve got a lot of work to do.”