Shuffle ahead of Battle for Brisbane

Published 3:08pm 28 June 2023

Shuffle ahead of Battle for Brisbane
Words by Kylie Knight

The Dolphins will be channelling the energy and focus that worked for them at the start of the season when they face the Broncos at The Gabba on Saturday night and it looks like there will be a shuffle involving two star players.

Head Coach Wayne Bennett looks likely to shift star fullback Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow to left centre and play ‘Mr Reliable’ Kodi Nikorima in the No.1 jersey.

That’s certainly where both players trained this morning and would enable Bennett to start the game with his strongest 13 on the field. See the training photo gallery at the end of this story

Halfback Sean O’Sullivan and his halves partner Isaiya Katoa were the last to leave the training field this morning, putting in some extra kicking practice ahead of the crucial Round 18 clash.

O’Sullivan made his return to the playing field during last weekend’s loss to the Eels, after being sidelined with a pectoral injury during the Dolphins’ last encounter with the Broncos in Round 4.

“Last week was a very big learning curve for me and one that I can put to bed now and really just dive into this new game, this new week and new challenges … worrying about myself and getting my prep right,” he said.

|“I’d be lying if I didn’t say there was a little bit of nerves there. I’m just honestly glad that I got last week over and done with. I’m pretty excited for this week. I’ve got 100 per cent confidence in my body.”|

He also has confidence in Bennett’s decision to move Tabuai-Fidow to the centres.

“Wayne thinks that is the best spot for him at the moment … I’m not sure if it will be a long-term one … Hamiso is really excited. No matter where he is playing, he’s going to do the job for us at the Dolphins and I’m grateful that he’s next to me,” O’Sullivan said.

“Hamiso brings a unique skillset … not many people in the game have what he brings to the footy team.”

And Nikorima has already proven his mettle at fullback this season.

“Kodi’s done an unreal job for us when Hamiso was in Origin (camp) … I’m sure that has something to do with it,” O’Sullivan said.

Shuffle ahead of Battle for Brisbane

Sharp focus

O’Sullivan said the team would not be distracted by the changes, instead concentrating on doing their job for the side and turning their recent form around.

“Wayne’s let us know that it’s not acceptable and it’s not what we’re building at this club. Everyone in the team is just really worried about, defensively, sticking to our systems, sticking to what we know works and executing that,” O’Sullivan said.

“You look at us, especially in the first four rounds of the NRL competition … we really played together and we valued looking after our teammates and having each other’s backs. We’ve done it before, so we know we can do it.

|“We’re also trying to stay calm and (remember) the fact that the world’s not burning around us. We know how to do it … it’s just up to us to bring that on game (day).|

“I think for myself, it’s just about bringing the process back to the Dolphins and … my part in that. That’s bringing an 80-minute performance and bringing that Dolphins’ DNA back that we are building here. I have to do my role in that. I wasn’t good enough last weekend and there’s no excuses now for me.”

His sole focus is to bring his best game on Saturday night during an historic game at The Gabba (kick-off 7.35pm).

Training photo gallery (click through)


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