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Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow's incredible bounceback as Dragons savaged over 'awful' scenes

The Dolphins fullback has bounced back from a horror round one with a man-of-the-match performance in round two.

Dolphins fullback Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow silenced his critics with a scintillating man-of-the-match display against the Dragons on Sunday. The No.1 was back to his best in the 38-0 thumping of St George Illawarra, scoring the first hat-trick of his NRL career at Redcliffe.

The 23-year-old Queensland and Australian representative, known universally as 'Hammer', was under pressure after multiple errors cost his side in the 43-18 loss to North Queensland in round one. In the game against his former club, Hammer first fell for a dummy for the Cowboys' first try. Things then went from bad to worse when a moment of madness at the back saw him inexplicably kick a loose ball into the arms of Heilum Luki who strolled over untouched.

Pictured left Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow and right Shane Flanagan
Dolphins fullback Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow bounced back to his scintillating best with a hat-trick in a man-of-the-match display in a win against the Dragons on Sunday. Image: AAP

Following the match Tabuai-Fidow was ripped to shreds by rugby league pundits for his blunder, with the likes of Paul 'Fatty' Vautin describing the error as "really dumb". "It's great footy by the Cowboys but this is turning into a nightmare round one game for the Dolphins," Vautin said on Nine's coverage. "But they've only got themselves on to blame, I've seen some really dumb things. Listen, dive on the ball champ. Just dive on it. Pick it up or dive on it, don't kick it."

The fullback said following the game coach Wayne Bennett wasn't much kinder about his performance, with the super coach giving him an almighty spray. "It was a bit hard from Wayne," Tabuai-Fidow said.

"He obviously wasn't happy with my performance. It was the first (first spray) - but I took it as a positive to work on my game and get back to myself. It was a good performance by myself against the Dragons and I am not going to stop there. I have to keep it going."

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 17: Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow of the Dolphins celebrates after scoring a try during the round two NRL match between the Dolphins and St George Illawarra Dragons at Kayo Stadium, on March 17, 2024, in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)
Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow celebrates after scoring a try during the round two match between the Dolphins and St George Illawarra Dragons. (Bradley Kanaris via Getty Images)

But in round two Tabuai-Fidow starred as the Dolphins secured their largest win since joining the competition last season and kept their opponents scoreless for the first time in the club's history. Following the Dolphins' first win of the season, the Maroons flyer credited his return to form on just enjoying his footy.

"I came into this week pretty switched on to get back to myself and get out there and have fun," he said. "This week was hard for us but ... it shows how my performance turns out when I am enjoying myself. It is so good to get the win and to score those tries. The boys are playing for each other and that is such a confidence boost for us."

Dragons suffer brutal reality check in crushing round two defeat

The Dragons got off to a promising start under new coach Shane Flanagan in round one where their defence shone en route to a 28-4 win against the Gold Coast Titans. However, they came crashing down to earth against the Dolphins, falling apart completely in the second half and looking very similar to their bumbling 2023 selves.

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The performance was the complete opposite of their thumping win over the Gold Coast the previous week and Flanagan couldn't hide his disappointment post-match. "That was a complete opposite to what we had last week when we had energy and commitment and today we had none of that," The Dragons coach said.

"We've still got some work to do and - really disappointed that we have gone backwards, but we'll shake it all off and go again." NRL fans were also quick to chime in on the shocking performance, with many saying it looked like the players just didn't care, while others took to mocking optimistic Dragons fans after round one.

with AAP

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