When Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow grabbed a slice of history by scoring the Dolphins’ first ever try in their first ever game, he could scarcely have imagined that six weeks later he’d find himself on the verge of breaking a record that has stood since rugby league’s first ever season.
Since crossing in the 16th minute of that debut match against the Roosters at Suncorp Stadium, ‘Hammer’ has touched down at least once in all six of the Dolphins’ games to sit atop the NRL’s tryscoring tally with eight.
Should Tabuai-Fidow score against the Rabbitohs on Thursday and take his streak to seven games, he will break the record for consecutive tryscoring for a new premiership club, set by Eastern Suburbs winger Horrie Miller in 1908.
A champion sprinter, Miller scored in the first six matches played by the Roosters, going on to finish the season as the NSWRL’s top tryscorer with 15 in 10 matches.
Hammer makes history
If Tabuai-Fidow is to finish 2023 as the NRL’s top tryscorer he may have to stave off teammate Jamayne Isaako for the crown, the former Bronco having also posted eight tries so far.
Isaako opened his season in style with a double against the Roosters and last weekend posted a hat-trick against the Cowboys as his points tally for the season soared to 72.
The dazzling Dolphins duo sit equal on eight tries but Isaako failed to score in Round 2 or Round 4 so ‘Hammer’ has him covered for the consecutive game streak.
When it comes to tryscoring streaks, few did it better than Phil Blake, who exploded onto the scene in 1982 with nine tries in 14 games for Manly to earn Dally M rookie of the year honours.
In 1983, Blake was simply unstoppable, scoring 27 tries in 24 games, including a streak of 10 straight matches between Rounds 8 and 18.
A master of the chip and chase, Blake had five seasons at the Sea Eagles followed by stints at Souths, Norths, Canberra and St George before the New Zealand Warriors lured him across the ditch for their debut season in 1995.
He may have been 31 years old when he strode onto Mt Smart Stadium for the Warriors’ first match against Brisbane but the dancing feet were still working just fine, Blake marking the occasion with the 122nd try of his career.
The mercurial Blake actually outscored Tabuai-Fidow with nine tries in the Warriors’ first four games but did not score in Round 5 or 6 so again the ‘Hammer’ has him for consistency.
Three years later the Melbourne Storm entered the competition and PNG flyer Marcus Bai quickly became a favourite of the purple army with his pace and power.
Phil Blake scores the first ever try for the Warriors
The honour of scoring Melbourne's first ever try went to five-eighth Scott Hill in a 14-12 win over Illawarra, before Bai got rolling in Round 2 against Western Suburbs with his first of the season.
Bai followed that up with tries against Cronulla, Norths, Auckland and Parramatta to make it five consecutive games in which he had crossed - a handy start to a 144-game Storm career that would produce 70 tries.
Come 1999 and it was St George Illawarra Dragons winger Jamie Ainscough setting the early pace with seven tries in the joint venture's first six games in the NRL.
A proven tryscorer from his days with Wests and Newcastle, Ainscough bagged a double in Round 2 against Canterbury, a hat-trick in Round 5 against Norths and another double in a Round 6 win over the Knights.
Māori and Pasifika Pioneers: Marcus Bai
Other players to have made an early statement for a new club include Allan Langer, who scored in five of the Broncos' frst six games in 1988, and Tommy Anderson, who scored in the first four games for South Sydney in 1908 and capped that season with a berth on the inaugural Kangaroo tour.
Another member of that Kangaroos squad, Bill ‘Jerry’ Bailey, scored in the first four games for Newcastle in 1908 but the man who kept the streak going the longest was Miller, with tries in the Roosters' first six games.
More than a century after Horrie, Tommy and Bill were strutting their stuff, rugby league welcomed its 34th club, the Dolphins, who have made an immediate impact with wins in four of their first six games.
The NRL new boys also boast the competition's leading pointscorer in Isaako and joint leading tryscorers.
On Thursday night in Brisbane, one of those tryscoring machines has 80 minutes to rewrite 115 years of history... and the way the 'Hammer' has been attacking the tryline there's every chance Suncorp Stadium could again prove his field of dreams.
Stats supplied by David Middleton, League Information Services, author of the official annual of the NRL.