Down to business at Dolphins’ training

Published 11:30am 30 January 2023

Down to business at Dolphins’ training
Words by Kylie Knight

Intensity has shifted up a notch as the Dolphins' NRL squad prepares for their first trial game on Saturday against the Capras in Gladstone, with Wayne Bennett’s no-nonsense, direct approach on full display at training this morning.

Today's session was gruelling after players returned from a three-day break.

The focus appeared to be on fitness, skills and building combinations and shape in their attack while defending strongly.

“If you can’t hold it, you can’t have it,” Bennett barked at one point.

While his criticism was sharp at times, he also praised those who worked hard and delivered what he wanted to see.

The players seemed to respond to both, heads down at times and broad smiles at other moments.

They also encouraged each other to lift, when the heat, humidity and fatigue really seemed to bite. See the photo gallery at the end of this story.

Three trial games in the coming weeks will give the Super Coach and his assistants a clearer indication of where the squad is at before their historic round one clash against the Roosters on March 5 at Suncorp Stadium (3.05pm kick-off).

Down to business at Dolphins’ training

Fresh start for Niu

Newcomer Tesi Niu agreed intensity had cranked up at training, but said he was happy to be there for a ‘fresh start’ and was settling in well.

“It’s a lot different, a different playing group. I’m getting to meet a lot of different people but also some familiar faces. It’s good at the moment. The boys are training hard. It’s good to start a fresh,” he said at the post-training press conference.

When asked why he changed clubs – leaving the Broncos earlier this year to join the Dolphins – he said it was an opportunity to grow as a player and person.

“I think for me personally, I just wanted a fresh start. I feel like I can get the best out of me with Wayne and Woolfy (Kristian Woolf),” he said.

“It (2022) was a tough year for me but I’m really grateful for the opportunities I had at the Broncs, (they) gave me my debut. I’m really thankful for that club … a new journey begins here.”

Niu has been training at centre, despite playing most of his career at fullback so far.

“I’m happy playing anywhere,” he said.

“There’s a lot of good outside backs here, so it’s good … all the competitiveness. The boys are competing every day, so that’s good.”

Bennett told the players this morning who is playing this weekend. See the list below.

Niu said he was not playing but would make the most of his opportunity, when it came.

“Hopefully I’ll play the next trials … an opportunity to prove myself and try to get a spot in that 17 (team),” he said.

So, what is he hoping to learn this season from Bennett and Woolf, who gave him his debut with Tonga in the World Cup.

“Be a better me, I guess, and find a lot of confidence in myself this year and just be really consistent,” Niu said.

Want to know when the Dolphins are playing? Check out the draw here 

Check out the photo gallery

Photos by Dominika Lis

Team list for Trial against Capras

1

Trai FULLER

2

Setu TU

3

Valynce TE WHARE

4

Jack BOSTOCK

5

Brenton BAIRA

6

Kurt DONOGHOE

7

Isaiya KATOA

8

JJ COLLINS

9

Harrison GRAHAM

10

Poasa FAAMAUSILI

11

Jeremiah SIMBIKEN

12

Jackson FREI

13

Mason TEAGUE

Interchange

14

Brayden McGRADY

15

Cody HUNTER

16

Tyler SZEPANOWSKI

17

Lachlan HUBNER

18

Judah RIMBU

19

Rodrick TAI

20

Sherwin TANABI

21

Taniela OTUKOLO

22

George FAI

Coach: Nathan FIEN

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