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The surprise packets of 2023, the Dolphins stunned the competition with their strong start to the season before their lack of depth saw them miss the top eight as injuries and suspensions hit hard.

For 2024, the club have recruited well, adding more representative level players to their squad in Thomas Flegler and Herbie Farnworth, as well as other handy acquisitions like Jake Averillo. 

While they didn’t lack experience in the forwards and were led by the Bromwich brothers Jesse and Kenny, as well as others with international and Origin experience like Felise Kaufusi and Jarrod Wallace, the addition of youthful exuberance from Flegler, coupled with a fully fit Tom Gilbert, ensures the Dolphins will have a formidable pack.

In their inaugural season, the Dolphins lacked depth in their halves and this was exacerbated by an early-season pectoral injury to first-choice halfback Sean O’Sullivan, however, it did give valuable experience to youngster Isaiya Katoa and an opportunity for older players Anthony Milford and Kodi Nikorima to show their wares.

The side also struggled to find consistency with their centres as the injury toll rose, forcing Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow away from this preferred position of fullback, but the club have moved to address this with the signings of Farnworth and Averillo in particular.

Highly regarded youngster Max Plath, who recently signed an extension with the club, could snag the No.14 jersey due to his versatility where he can fill in at half, hooker and lock, but may need more time in Cup before dislodging more experienced players from the bench.    

In Round 1, Connelly Lemuelu (knee) remains the main concern for the Dolphins but is pressing to make his return during the Pre-Season Challenge, while Ray Stone (toe, Pre-season Challenge) and Jeremy Marshall-King (shoulder, Pre-Season Challenge) have all returned returning to training and should be ready for selection.

NRL Fantasy club by club: Dolphins

Predicted Round 1 team

  1. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow
  2. Jamayne Isaako
  3. Jake Averillo
  4. Herbie Farnworth
  5. Jack Bostock
  6. Kodi Nikorima
  7. Sean O’Sullivan
  8. Jesse Bromwich
  9. Jeremy Marshall-King
  10. Thomas Flegler
  11. Felise Kaufusi
  12. Kenny Bromwich
  13. Tom Gilbert
  14. Ray Stone
  15. Jarrod Wallace
  16. Connelly Lemuelu
  17. Mark Nicholls

Key Changes 

  • Ins: Herbie Farnworth (Broncos), Thomas Flegler (Broncos), Jake Averillo (Bulldogs)
  • Outs: Brenko Lee (released), Herman Ese'ese (Hull FC)

Health Watch

Connelly Lemuelu (knee, Round 1)
Ray Stone (toe, Pre-season Challenge)
Jeremy Marshall-King (shoulder, Pre-season Challenge)

The creators: Kodi Nikorima

Positional battle to watch 

With a strong forward pack at their disposal, the battle to see who will start and who will make the bench will be interesting to see, especially when all players are fit.

However, who wears the No.6 jersey will be another puzzle, with genuine competition for the role. Wayne Bennett surprised many by naming youngster Isaiya Katoa to debut in Round 1 in their inaugural year over the more experienced Anthony Milford, and both players are in the mix again to start in their opener against the Cowboys.

Despite being highly considered for his utility value, Nikorima has expressed his desire to stay in the role given how well he filled in late this season and will be working hard to claim the position outright.

Acknowledgement of Country

The Dolphins respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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