On a night where he set a new record for the most points scored for a ‘new’ club in its first season, Dolphins winger Jamayne Isaako said he was disappointed in his performance, saying he played his “worst” game of the year.
“That was probably one of my worst games tonight, I am pretty disappointed with the result,” Isaako said following the 34-10 loss against the Cowboys, despite also running for 271 metres and making eight tackle breaks.
“To go out there and play in front of 30-odd thousand fans and not come away with the result is pretty disappointing.
“It is not the way we wanted to finish our season, but we have one more game here next week against the Warriors and hopefully we can finish off with a win.”
Despite his assessment of his own performance, Isaako was a shining light once again for the Dolphins who went down to a desperate North Queensland side at Suncorp Stadium last night, with the 24-0 deficit at halftime too much to overcome.
It took until the 62nd minute for the home side to get on the scoreboard, and unsurprisingly it was through Isaako who then quickly notched his second try of the night to bring his tally so far this season to 23.
Jamayne Isaako Try
He also kicked a conversion to bring his total points tally to 230 with a game to go, in the process overtaking the previous points in an inaugural season record of 224 held by Joel Caine.
Isaako is also still on track to achieve another record with a game to go next week and as it stands, the former Kiwi representative looks set to match a record set by Mal Meninga, who claimed both the leading point-scoring and try-scoring honours in the same season, with the rugby league Immortal the only player to do so since 1990. Roosters fullback Latrell Mitchell came close in 2019 when he scored 273 points with 98 goals and 19 tries, only bested by Eels fan favourite Maika Sivo who scored 22 tries.
“Mal was one of the reasons I went to the Titans last year,” Isaako said of what it would mean if he could emulate the feat of Meninga.
“I watched Mal back in the day and the way he held himself and played is the way a lot of players try and aspire to be like.
“(But) I don’t do this stuff for the accolades. I want to do my role and play my part in the team the best I can.”
In an inaugural season that has been both exciting and challenging, Dolphins coach Wayne Bennett praised the contributions of his winger, who has found career-best form this year after linking back up again with his mentor who he played with previously when at the Brisbane Broncos.
“He’s been outstanding, I don't know if there has been many better players in the competition than him … it’s a real credit to him and where he came from last year, where he was at,” Bennett said.
“I think that playing for us in particular, when we were not in the top 10 teams in terms of points and all that type of stuff – to think that he's accumulated all those tries and all those goals, it's quite remarkable.
“He (played well) when he first came to the Broncos in the early part of his career, but for a number of reasons, he got lost, and probably coaches didn’t have the confidence in him that they should have had, but I knew what he brought and I think he was one of the first players that we signed and he was playing for Tweed Heads last year at this time and nobody wanted him.
“But he's come with a group of guys and they have given him confidence and he likes playing with them and we've seen the best of him and there's more to come.
“He’s a wonderful winger and he’s a great finisher.”
For his part, Isaako said knowing Bennett had faith in him gave him confidence in his game.
“He brought the best out of me in my rookie year, (and) after a couple of tough years, the way I am playing this year is a credit to him,” Isaako said.
“He rode me pretty hard in the off-season and made sure I earned a spot in this team come Round 1.
“I was on the cusp of not even starting the season. I took that really personal and worked my backside off the last couple of weeks of pre-season to try and solidify a spot in the team.
“I was lucky enough to play that round one team and I think I have played every game since.”
Next week, the Dolphins will close their season by hosting the Warriors at Suncorp Stadium, with the leading try scorer challenger Dallin Watene-Zelezniak lurking on their wing with the aim to taking away Isaako’s lead on the try scoring ladder.
Match: Dolphins v Warriors
Round 27 -
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane