Dolphins in enemy territory

Published 1:52pm 8 June 2023

Dolphins in enemy territory
Words by Kylie Knight
Photos: Dolphins NRL Media

Dolphins NRL players have trained in Sydney ahead of their clash against the Manly Sea Eagles at Brookvale on Friday night (kick-off 8pm).

The side will welcome back some much-needed firepower with Origin star Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow making his return.

Heading into Round 14, the Dolphins are eighth on the ladder while the Manly Sea Eagles are 10th.

The Dolphins will be looking for a better performance after their 30-8 Round 13 loss to the Warriors last week in Auckland.

Manly are coming off a bye and will field star players Daly Cherry-Evans and Tom Trbojevic.

Trbojevic has been cleared to play despite initially being ruled out under concussion protocols, following State of Origin game one.

Dolphins NRL Head Coach Wayne Bennett says he hasn’t taken too much notice of how the Manly side has performed this season but knows his side will need to be at their best to beat them at home.

|“It’s not the biggest challenge so far but it’s a challenge. I mean when we’re home we always play well and we’re obviously looking to turnaround our last game as well. It should be a good night of football,” he says.|

“We haven’t been able to put two wins together since we won three in a row – win one, lose one …

“I’ll be happy if the team continues this week and we go to a bye and go back and see what we do after that.

“The season’s only going to get closer. There’s a lot of challenges in it. We’ve had a bit of a run with suspensions and injuries, but I’ve got to say that everyone I’ve put in the team has put their hand up and done their best for us.

“I can’t ask for more than that.”

One such player has been Kodi Nikorima who has played wherever his coach has needed him this season.

He will return to five-eighth this week, with the return of Tabuai-Fidow to fullback.

Anthony Milford is out after taking a three-week suspension.

With Jarrod Wallace also on a ban, Poasa Faamausili will start in the front row, while Herman Ese’ese goes back to the bench with Mark Nicholls.

Utility Kurt Donoghoe will provide cover from an interchange list that also includes Valynce Te Whare.

Last week’s debutant Max Plath has been named as the 18th man after playing solidly against the Warriors.

Bennett says the biggest challenge this season has been finding consistency.

“Playing well every week … and probably trying to keep the same 13 on the field which I don’t think we’ve done since round 1,” he says.

Dolphins in enemy territory
Jeremy Marshall-King. Photo: Dolphins NRL Media

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