Bennett: just ‘be the Dolphins’ to win

Published 1:16pm 11 April 2024

Bennett: just ‘be the Dolphins’ to win
Words by Kylie Knight

Dolphins NRL Head Coach Wayne Bennett wants his side to simply ‘be the Dolphins’ when they take on the Broncos in the Battle for Brisbane on Friday night (8pm kick-off).

It comes as he confirms the Dolphins will be without Thomas Flegler, who hasn’t recovered from a shoulder injured suffered in the Dolphins’ 26-16 win over the Tigers.

Mark Nicholls gets a start this week, as a result, with Lachlan Hubner (Central Queensland Capras) added to the bench.

Hubner has impressed the Super Coach with his work ethic, which Bennett says is compatible with the squad’s culture.

“He’s had two years with us, here in the preseason – train and trial situation, he’s played some trial matches with us as well. We’ve always been impressed with him and (there’s) an opportunity for him to play this weekend and we grabbed it,” Bennett says.

The game will also give Tesi Niu and Anthony Milford a chance to impress.

Bennett is looking for more decisive play from Niu, whom he dropped after round one. Milford will make his NRL return after recovering from injury and struggling to make the top side.

“He’s been really outstanding in the preseason, got a hamstring injury and it set him back a bit… he played last weekend with CQ (Central Queensland Capras),” Bennett says.

“Again, an opportunity just came along with the suspension we got with Kurt and Max Plath is still not available. It’s an opportunity, a chance to do something (for Milford).”

His instructions for the squad remain unchanged despite the hype around tomorrow night’s clash.

“(I’m expecting) their best. I tell them that every week,” Bennett says.

He would not be drawn on whether he believed his side could beat the Broncos.

“I don’t even know if we’re ready yet. We’ll see, we’ll see tomorrow,” Bennett says.

“They’ve got a lot of talented players there. That’s the challenge.”

So, what do they need to do to win?

“Be the Dolphins. It’s been working for us so why would you want to change it,” he says.

Regardless of the outcome, Bennett says the rivalry between the two clubs is good for the NRL.

“It’s wonderful for the game, it’s wonderful for the public and it makes a great spectacle … the anticipation that goes with all that,” he says.

“If you look at the great sports of the world, there’s always those countries and teams – whether it’s soccer or gridiron … whatever it may be … basketball… the local derbies and they mean a lot to everybody. This one has filled the bill and everybody’s bought into it.”

Bennett: just ‘be the Dolphins’ to win

Big turnout

There were hundreds of Dolphins fans at training today, as families took the chance to wish their side well ahead of the Battle for Brisbane during the second week of the school holidays.

“It’s wonderful, eh. I was looking at that this morning and just couldn’t believe how many people are here. I thought it was great, really good,” Bennett says.

This morning’s press conference invariably included questions about the veteran coach’s future, with turmoil surrounding his former club Souths Sydney and no word yet on what his plans are after his contract at the Dolphins ends this year.

“I’m here until the end of the season. I’ve made no decisions about going anywhere or doing anything. I’ll just wait and see,” he says.

Does he still want to be a head coach somewhere?

“I don’t know what I want to be. Make me an offer if you want me to do your job … I don’t know,” he says to a reporter.

“We’ll see where it all goes, see what I want to do … what’s happening in my life. I could still be here next year, who knows?”

So, is he a chance of returning to Souths?

“Everyone’s got an opinion on it all. My opinion is all that matters and I’m not sharing it with anybody. Keep guessing guys,” he says.

Bennett: just ‘be the Dolphins’ to win

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