All eyes on Isaako as Dolphins winger nears magic feat

Wayne Bennett says he "can’t believe" the achievements of Dolphins winger Jamayne Isaako as he closes in on wrapping up a feat that has not been achieved in 33 years.

The Dolphins host the New Zealand Warriors on Saturday afternoon with Isaako on the cusp of finishing as the NRL’s leading points and tryscorer in the regular season.

Rugby league legend Mal Meninga last achieved that milestone in 1990 in a Canberra side that won the premiership.

Isaako’s job is not done yet but he has 230 points, 14 clear of the Melbourne’s Nick Meaney who has finished his season. Cronulla’s Nicho Hynes is further back on 183 points.

Isaako also has 23 tries, two clear of South Sydney’s Alex Johnston and Newcastle’s Dom Young who both could catch him.

Whatever happens in the final round, Isaako’s feat in a team coming 14th is one of the most remarkable individual achievements in modern times.

"He has been outstanding, absolutely outstanding. I can’t believe what he has done actually," Dolphins coach Bennett said.

"It is a great credit to him. He is the only player that has played every game (for the Dolphins).

"We are not a top eight team even. That is what makes it remarkable. Mal had some great players around him and while the players around Jamayne have done well he has had five different centres playing with him.

"You can’t say he did it on combination. He just finds a way to score tries.

"Regardless of what the challenges have been for him he has maintained his form and his ability to play well every week under some pretty trying conditions at times."

The Dolphins can have an impact on whether the Warriors finish third or fourth on the ladder but Bennett said that was not his main concern.

"I know they are in the top four, the Warriors, but we are not trying to have an impact on anybody," Bennett said.

"We are trying to do what we have been doing all year. It is an important game for us. We want to do our best and finish the season."

Centre Euan Aitken is out of the clash with a calf injury and will be replaced by rookie Valynce Te Whare in the starting side.

Despite missing the finals Bennett said he was delighted with the response the Dolphins had received from the public, due in large part to the way everyone at the club had conducted themselves. The team have also battled adversity.

"You might have $9 million or $10 million in the salary cap but we run out some weekends with a salary cap around the $4 million mark with the players on the field because of injuries and suspensions.

"I think we have handled that great. We have got seven missing here tomorrow with injury."

License this article

What is AAPNews?

For the first time, Australian Associated Press is delivering news straight to the consumer.

No ads. No spin. News straight-up.

Not only do you get to enjoy high-quality news delivered straight to your desktop or device, you do so in the knowledge you are supporting media diversity in Australia.

AAP Is Australia’s only independent newswire service, free from political and commercial influence, producing fact-based public interest journalism across a range of topics including politics, courts, sport, finance and entertainment.

What is AAPNews?
The Morning Wire

Wake up to AAPNews’ morning news bulletin delivered straight to your inbox or mobile device, bringing you up to speed with all that has happened overnight at home and abroad, as well as setting you up what the day has in store.

AAPNews Morning Wire
AAPNews Breaking News
Breaking News

Be the first to know when major breaking news happens.

Notifications will be sent to your device whenever a big story breaks, ensuring you are never in the dark when the talking points happen.

Focused Content

Enjoy the best of AAP’s specialised Topics in Focus. AAP has reporters dedicated to bringing you hard news and feature content across a range of specialised topics including Environment, Agriculture, Future Economies, Arts and Refugee Issues.

AAPNews Focussed Content
Subscription Plans

Choose the plan that best fits your needs. AAPNews offers two basic subscriptions, all billed monthly.

Once you sign up, you will have seven days to test out the service before being billed.

AAPNews Full Access Plan
Full Access
  • Enjoy all that AAPNews has to offer
  • Access to breaking news notifications and bulletins
  • Includes access to all AAPNews’ specialised topics
Join Now
AAPNews Student Access Plan
Student Access
  • Gain access via a verified student email account
  • Enjoy all the benefits of the ‘Full Access’ plan at a reduced rate
  • Subscription renews each month
Join Now
AAPNews Annual Access Plan
Annual Access
  • All the benefits of the 'Full Access' subscription at a discounted rate
  • Subscription automatically renews after 12 months
Join Now

AAPNews also offers enterprise deals for businesses so you can provide an AAPNews account for your team, organisation or customers. Click here to contact AAP to sign-up your business today.

Download the app
Download AAPNews on the App StoreDownload AAPNews on the Google Play Store