Not even the most optimistic Dolphins fans could have envisaged their team would be unbeaten as they headed into their historic first meeting against the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium.
The promoter's dream pits master mentor Wayne Bennett against Kevin Walters, the man he shared five premierships with as coach and player at the Broncos between 1992 and 2000.
Former Broncos Anthony Milford, Jamayne Isaako, Tesi Niu, Brenko Lee and Kodi Nikorima will be out to get one over on their old club as the Dolphins look to continue their fairytale start to their debut season.
The battle in the middle between Jesse Bromwich and Payne Haas promises to be a beauty with the Broncos enforcer already churning out 210m per game in 2023 and the former Storm man leading by example with 29 tackles and 115m per match at the Dolphins.
In front of a heaving Friday night crowd at the home of Queensland rugby league this promises to be a memorable clash between two sides looking more than capable of playing finals in 2023.
If Bennett's men can get past their crosstown rivals they can set their sights on a clash against another one of their coach's former teams in St George Illawarra and a very real shot of starting their debut season with five wins on the trot.
Match: Dolphins v Broncos
Round 4 -
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Dolphins: Rookie five-eighth Isaiya Katoa dropped out an hour before kick-off after being troubled by an elbow issue this week. Veteran playmaker Anthony Milford comes into the side against his former club. Mason Teague has been moved into the starting line-up with Kodi Nikorima going to the bench. Felise Kaufusi was found guilty of Dangerous Contact at the judiciary on Tuesday night and will miss four matches, with Poasa Faamausili coming in to start in the second row.
Broncos: The Broncos are 1-17 with no late changes. Forward Kobe Hetherington dropped out of the reserves on Thursday meaning his NRL return is at least another week away, following a pre-season biceps injury. Deine Mariner is 18th man.
Match: Dolphins v Broncos
Round 4 -
Fullback for Dolphins is number 1 Hamiso Tabuai-FidowFullback for Broncos is number 1 Reece Walsh
Winger for Dolphins is number 2 Jamayne IsaakoWinger for Broncos is number 2 Jesse Arthars
Centre for Dolphins is number 3 Euan AitkenCentre for Broncos is number 3 Kotoni Staggs
Centre for Dolphins is number 4 Brenko LeeCentre for Broncos is number 4 Herbie Farnworth
Winger for Dolphins is number 5 Tesi NiuWinger for Broncos is number 5 Selwyn Cobbo
Five-Eighth for Dolphins is number 21 Anthony MilfordFive-Eighth for Broncos is number 6 Ezra Mam
Halfback for Dolphins is number 7 Sean O'SullivanHalfback for Broncos is number 7 Adam Reynolds
Prop for Dolphins is number 8 Jesse BromwichProp for Broncos is number 8 Thomas Flegler
Hooker for Dolphins is number 17 Mason TeagueHooker for Broncos is number 9 Billy Walters
Prop for Dolphins is number 18 Poasa FaamausiliProp for Broncos is number 10 Payne Haas
2nd Row for Dolphins is number 10 Kenneath Bromwich2nd Row for Broncos is number 11 Kurt Capewell
2nd Row for Dolphins is number 12 Connelly Lemuelu2nd Row for Broncos is number 12 Jordan Riki
Lock for Dolphins is number 13 Tom GilbertLock for Broncos is number 13 Patrick Carrigan
Interchange for Dolphins is number 9 Kodi NikorimaInterchange for Broncos is number 14 Cory Paix
Interchange for Dolphins is number 14 Jarrod WallaceInterchange for Broncos is number 15 Keenan Palasia
Interchange for Dolphins is number 15 Mark NichollsInterchange for Broncos is number 16 Corey Jensen
Interchange for Dolphins is number 16 Ray StoneInterchange for Broncos is number 17 Martin Taupau
Replacement for Dolphins is number 22 Robert JenningsReplacement for Broncos is number 18 Deine Mariner
- Referee: Adam Gee
- Touch Judge: Belinda Sharpe
- Touch Judge: Drew Oultram
- Senior Review Official: Gerard Sutton
- Broncos halfback Adam Reynolds has come up with four try assists so far this season and Dolphins No.7 Sean O'Sullivan has three.
- The last time the Broncos started a season 4-0 was 2003.
- Dolphins captain Jesse Bromwich has won 21 games from 23 against the Broncos.
- Broncos five-eighth Ezra Mam has scored eight tries in nine games at Suncorp Stadium.
- The Dolphins boast the NRL’s leading point scorer (Jamayne Isaako) and two of the leading try-scorers (Isaako and Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow).
- Broncos winger Selwyn Cobbo has scored 16 tries in his past 15 NRL games.
- Wayne Bennett has won five of his past six games coaching against the Broncos.
Stats supplied by David Middleton, League Information Services, author of the official annual of the NRL.