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Dolphins take NRL top spot with big win over Titans

Big-name off-season signings Thomas Flegler and Herbie Farnworth have delivered crucial game-breaking plays to take the Dolphins to the top of the NRL ladder courtesy of a 30-14 win over Gold Coast.

The Titans, under new coach Des Hasler, are rock bottom and in a world of hurt.

"We are not putting two halves together," Hasler said.

"We are not executing well. At one stage in the first half we had a great opportunity to ... put them to the sword."

The Dolphins trailed 10-0 early and lost lock Max Plath to the sin bin in the first half, but fired back, with fullback Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, captain Jesse Bromwich and halfback Isaiya Katoa playing crucial roles.

"We are pretty pleased with ourselves," Dolphins coach Wayne Bennett said.

"We went through some tough moments at 10-nil down and then with a guy in the sin bin, but we found a way to keep battling on and keep them away from the tryline.

Dolphins coach Wayne Bennett
Dolphins coach Wayne Bennett is delighted by the way his side fought back to defeat the Titans. (Dave Hunt/AAP PHOTOS)

"You have options. You can feel sorry for yourself or not let your teammate down, and Max is such a valued part of the team and the boys think so highly of him that they all said, 'We are not going to let him down'."

Saturday night's game at Robina was in the balance in the 58th minute with the visitors leading 12-10.

Farnworth and Flegler, recruited from Brisbane, then delivered.

Centre Farnworth exchanged passes with speedy winger Jamayne Isaako down the right side to score his first try for the club.

Then raging prop Flegler stormed into the line to put Tabuai-Fidow over.

"(Farnworth and Flegler) were tremendous," Bennett said.

"We knew what we were buying. We wanted them and we got them. They make a big difference out there with that bit of quality."

Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow.
Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow enjoys scoring a Dolphins four-pointer on the Gold Coast. (Dave Hunt/AAP PHOTOS)

Gold Coast defended their line solidly early. They were rewarded when centre Brian Kelly put in a grubber kick up the other end and lock Jaimin Jolliffe raced through with vim to score his fourth career try in 72 games.

Titans halves Tanah Boyd and Kieran Foran combined to send winger Phil Sami over in the corner to make it 10-0 after 13 minutes.

The Dolphins dominated from that moment.

Tabuai-Fidow has been working on his try-assist capacity and delivered on that hard work with a tip-on to winger Jack Bostock to score in the corner in the 24th minute.

Plath was sin-binned for a hip-drop tackle on Sami, the home side's best player on the night, three minutes later, but the Titans were unable to make the visitors pay and the Dolphins dug deep.

Tabuai-Fidow showed silky skills again with a quick ball to Bostock, who showed plenty of strength to score his first career double with seconds remaining before the break.

Dolphins players celebrate after Jack Bostock scored a  try
Dolphins players celebrate after Jack Bostock's try against the Titans. (Dave Hunt/AAP PHOTOS)

Titans wrecking ball David Fifita made his first appearance of the season off the bench on recovery from a pectoral tear, as did fullback Jayden Campbell from a knee injury.

Dolphins veteran skipper Bromwich was enormous and sent fellow prop Josh Kerr over under the sticks in the second half as 20-year-old half Katoa took control of the contest.

Gold Coast are winless this season and fell apart in the second half when the blowtorch was applied, while the Dolphins remain perfect and on six competition points.