"We need to be better", says Bennett

Published 4:00pm 10 July 2024

"We need to be better", says Bennett
Words by Nick Crockford

Coach Wayne Bennett has played down talk of a “lull” in Dolphins’ form ahead of tomorrow’s clash with South Sydney Rabbitohs.

Dolphins will run out at Kayo Stadium (7.50pm) sixth on the ladder having lost four of their last five games. Rabbitohs are 13th despite winning their last five.

But Bennett said: “I don’t think we’ve had a lull, we just haven’t played well in the second half for a number of games.

“We’ve been in it against all the teams, except St George in the second half. The other three or four games have been pretty close and not a lot in them.

“We’re playing quality teams. We can be a bit better at what we do … we need to be better. At the same time, I’m not disappointed with the effort.

“South Sydney have turned their season around. Great credit to (coach) Ben Hornby. He’s done a great job with them. It’s going to be a difficult task tomorrow.

"We need to be better", says Bennett
Dolphins V Cowboys March 10 2024. Max Plath.

“We’re playing at home and are in pretty good shape ourselves. We’ve got some missing, they have too, so it evens itself out.”

Dolphins will be without Origin stars Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow and Felise Kaufusi, as well as hooker Jeremy Marshall-King who has a fractured foot.

Versatile Max Plath comes in at hooker for Marshall-King with Bennett confident he will “do a good job for us”.

“Max Plath can (also) play half-back, five-eighth, if we need him to,” said Dolphins’ coach, “he’s highly skilled, good thought processes about him.

“He’s not going to be Jeremy, he’s Max and he’ll do well.”

The additional twist to tomorrow’s Round 19 tie sees Bennett facing the team he will coach next season, after signing a three-year deal with the Rabbitohs.

"We need to be better", says Bennett
Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow who will miss tomorrow's match due to Origin duty.

Bennett made South Sydney coach Ben Hornby captain when the two were at Dragons and took him to Rabbitohs during his first spell at Redfern.

“I have a great deal of respect for him and always enjoyed what he brings,” Bennett said and will “absolutely” keep him next season.

“We’ve been together six or seven years as coach and player. He knows what I want and I know what Ben brings so I’m more than happy with what’s going on.”

However, Bennett insisted: “I’m coaching the Dolphins and that’s my priority. Trying to run two clubs doesn’t work. I'm here and committed to here.”

He also said the “greatest advantage” Queensland have in next week’s Origin decider is Suncorp Stadium.

“The crowd will be behind that team, it makes such a difference, like playing with 14 players on the field,” he said.

“They (Maroons players) will be wearing Queensland jerseys, playing at Suncorp Stadium, they’ll lift and play way above themselves. That’s the advantage we’ve got.”

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