Finals hunt: ‘There’s still belief’

Published 2:30pm 2 August 2023

Finals hunt: ‘There’s still belief’
Words by Kylie Knight

The Dolphins are still daring to dream of a finals berth, with hooker Jeremy Marshall-King saying there’s belief in the group they can still make it.

See photos from training at Redcliffe at the end of this story …

“There’s still belief in this group that we can still get there. We’ll keep coming in for training and keep positive vibes. The boys have just got to keep doing their work … we’ve got the belief in the group … it’s still there,” Marshall-King says.

The NRL side’s 23-22 loss to the Bulldogs at Bundaberg on Sunday made it more difficult, with the Dolphins now sitting 13th on the ladder.

Speaking after the game, Head Coach Wayne Bennett said the loss was a combination of bad luck, with decisions not going the Dolphins’ way, and costly errors.

“We continue to make an effort, we don’t give up (we) keep trying,” Bennett said.

“(There’s) five games to go in the season … we’ll go out and do our best again next week.”

The Dolphins now face Newcastle Knights in Round 23 at Optus Stadium in Perth on Saturday (5.30pm kick-off).

The Knights are ninth on the ladder following a crushing 28-6 win over Canberra Raiders in Round 22.

The Dolphins beat the Knights (36-20) in their first encounter back in round three, but Newcastle have won their past four games.

|“They’ve got a bit of form. We know they’re going to start fast, but we’re going to match them as well. We’ve got to be on our best game to beat them and we’re looking forward to the challenge,” Marshall-King said.|

There have been a few changes to the Dolphins’ squad with Mr Reliable Kodi Nikorima switching to the centres this week.

He finished last weekend’s clash against the Bulldogs in the centres following a low-grade medial ligament injury to Euan Aitken who’s likely to be out for two to four weeks.

“He (Nikorima) is good anywhere you put him. He’s always up for the job … it doesn’t matter where you put him, he always does his best there. We’re confident in him in the centres,” Marshall-King said.

Nikorima’s shift to the centres allows Bennett to keep Hamiso Tabuia-Fidow at fullback, where he has been dangerous all year.

Finals hunt: ‘There’s still belief’

Milford magic

Anthony Milford’s impressive form off the bench last week has earnt him the five-eighth position this week.

“There’s been a lot of doubters about Milf. He turns up to training with a positive mindset and he’s always getting around the boys and I’m really happy for him,” Marshall-King said.

“Milf is an experienced player. When he came on, he definitely livened up our team and scored two tries in that game. He’s a great player.”

Isaiya Katoa was 18th man against the Bulldogs but comes back into the top 17 on the interchange list.

Ray Stone has been named on the extended bench in case he can make a late recovery to return from a broken hand suffered in round 20.

As for Marshall-King’s troublesome shoulder, he said it was back to ‘100 per cent’.

“It’s good. I’m confident. I pulled up well after the game. It’s 100 per cent (right). I’m confident in my shoulder and back to normal,” he said.

“It’s definitely been tough on myself. I hate watching from the sideline. When you’re injured you just want to get on the field and help your teammates. There’s a great bunch of blokes at this club, staff included, they’ve helped get me through it.”

He’s now keen to help the club finish their inaugural season on a high, possibly with a surprise run in the finals.

“Before the season even started there were a lot of people saying we’d be wooden spooners. I think we’ve shocked a lot of people. We’re only going to go up from here. It’s just good to not be at the bottom,” he said.

Check out training photos (click through)

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