‘It’s going to be a really big arm wrestle’

Published 2:53pm 29 May 2023

‘It’s going to be a really big arm wrestle’
Words by Kylie Knight

It was gruelling session for the Dolphins’ NRL squad who returned to training this morning after having the weekend off following Thursday night’s 26-12 win over the Dragons.

The team is preparing for a tough Round 14 game against the Warriors in Auckland on Saturday (3pm kick-off).

Dolphins’ lock Ray Stone is expecting the home side to come out firing after their 26-22 loss to the Broncos in Round 13.

“You’ve got to give them a lot of respect. The way they’ve been playing this year … they’re proper contenders for winning the comp, I reckon. Playing them on home turf, they’re going to be pumped up for it, so we’ve just got to make sure we can match it,” Stone says.

“When we’re out there, it will just come down to completing and sticking to the grind, not getting bored with what’s working. It’s been working for them and I think we’ve found it works for us as well.

“It’s going to be a really big arm wrestle. We’ve got to be ready for it. They’re a tough team. Everything we’ve done so far … we’re going to have to take that to another level.”

Stone says winning last Thursday night in front of a sold-out home crowd was special.

“It was unreal. Any win is really special but to do it at Kayo in front of all the local fans … it means so much to us that we can do that for our home supporters,” he says.

|“On the flip side, we’re a long way from home this week. We can’t drop off what we did last week, we’ve got to go up another level…”|

‘It’s going to be a really big arm wrestle’

Halfway mark

The Dolphins are halfway through their inaugural season and have surprised many seasoned league fans and commentators who doubted they would win a game. Instead, in 12 games, they have won seven and lost five and are sixth on the ladder with 16 points – the same number held by three clubs.

The competition is tight and every win counts.

“We’re proud of what we’ve done so far but we’re not completely satisfied. We know that there’s still areas that we can work on. We’ve realised what works for us – keeping it simple, keep competing … off the back of that things happen. So, we’ve just got to make sure we stick to it,” Stone says.

“The biggest achievement is probably how we’ve come together so well and how hard we work for each other. A lot of people were writing us off, but we know the team that we’ve got and we just keep backing each other up. I think that’s our biggest achievement … how much we’ve got each other’s backs.

“I’d probably put it down to the blokes we’ve got in the team. Everyone’s an absolute legend. Everyone’s such good people up here … it’s not hard to back each other up.”

‘It’s going to be a really big arm wrestle’

Fan favourite

The squad’s Mr Reliable, Mr Fix-it is also a fan favourite with a “cult following” but it’s news to Stone.

“I really didn’t know I was. It’s not something I think of. I just think about going about doing what I can for the team,” he says. “As long as I’m making the team and the coaching staff are happy.

“The competition is that tight, so every week we’ve got to go out to win because the difference between the top 8 teams and bottom eight teams … there’s nothing in it. Our focus is solely on the Warriors this weekend because of how big of a threat they are.”

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