It’s Hammer time for the Dolphins

Published 12:00pm 16 February 2023

It’s Hammer time for the Dolphins
Words by Kylie Knight

The countdown is on to the Dolphins’ NRL trial game at their spiritual home on Sunday. The players had a decent hit-out at training this morning to work on combinations, ball control and defence.

‘The Hammer’ Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow says the squad can’t wait to put it all together in front of a big home crowd.

He will start as fullback in the preseason trial against the Gold Coast Titans at Kayo Stadium (Redcliffe) on Sunday (kick-off 6pm).

Touted as an ‘excitement machine, he is expected to add some real strike power to the side’s backline and can’t wait to run out in a Dolphins’ jersey.

During this morning’s session, the squad split and played each other in a mock game complete with referee.

The focus was on set plays, sharpening attack and being disciplined in defence, with Head Coach Wayne Bennett animated in his assessment of their performance at times.

Tabuai-Fidow said tough talk from the coach did the team good.

“It’s a matter of how you handle it. It’s not a bad spray. He obviously wants to make you better and it drives you as well,” he explained at a post-training press conference this morning.

What was Bennett’s message to the squad today?

“Just keeping a calm head … with having the ref there it was the first time we’ve done that. Just having a cool, calm head especially on our try line and attack and D-wise. It was a good session,” he said.

Putting plays in action

Tabuai-Fidow said it was a good opportunity to put combinations together.

“We’ve got a game this Sunday. It’s our second last session before we play a full game together. Just building combinations out there, it’s really good for the team. I think the boys are enjoying it and we’re learning from each other as well,” he said.

He has recovered well from an ankle injury suffered playing for Samoa in the Rugby League World Cup in October.

“I’m excited. It was a slow preseason for me, with surgery but I’ve been out there the last month training with the boys and I’m just excited to play this game on Sunday,” he said.

“I’m feeling very confident, especially being out there and running on it, stepping on it. My rehab process was good and I’ve had no dramas with it so far.”

With a few fullbacks, or players who have played in that position previously, to choose from, Tabuai-Fidow is grateful to be Bennett’s first choice for Sunday’s trial.

“It means a lot. Coming from him, especially with all the stuff he’s done in the game … just having that trust in me puts my trust in him. There are other fullbacks here but it’s good healthy competition. As training has gone on, I’ve gotten better in the fullback role,” he said.

Having Bennett’s trust has given him confidence and he’s enjoying focusing on one position.

“Just being down here and knowing my role at the No.1 fullback spot … I do want to keep that for the whole season. It makes my job easier if I’m focusing on that one position … where I need to get better and the stuff I need to keep doing as well,” Tabuai-Fidow said.

Tickets to Sunday’s trial game against the Titans are still on sale. Head to the website for details.

It’s Hammer time for the Dolphins

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