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Having conceded two-try leads in each of their last four games, the Dolphins know a fast start is pivotal if they're to continue their good form against Wests Tigers on Sunday.

Wayne Bennett's side head into the clash against the Tigers having won three of their last four games, but have found themselves behind in each of the four first halves.

They trailed by 12 against the Sea Eagles, 10 against the Cowboys and eight against the Eels before coming home stronger on each occasion, while they were narrowly unable to bridge a 12-point deficit against the Knights in Round 8 – going down 18-14.

“We've been behind by a fair few points and we've somehow been able to come out on the other side, so it's really good, pleasing," forward Connelly Lemuelu said. 

“But we have just got to keep chipping away at our starts at training.

“We know we can come out and we can grind out games, but definitely our start is something we need to fix – it's something we need to work on in training for sure.

Connelly Lemuelu celebrates his 50th NRL game.
Connelly Lemuelu celebrates his 50th NRL game. ©Chloe Davis / NRL Images

“We've been talking about what sort of team we want to be; we want to be tough, gritty, and do the small things to get the win.

"That just epitomises the Dolphins DNA and the boys have been showing that the past few weeks.”

Lemuelu celebrated his 50th NRL appearance in the win over the Cowboys last week, crossing for a try in the 30-24 win against the Sea Eagles, but has had to overcome an injury-plagued start to the season to reach the milestone.

After making a comeback in Round 1 following an extensive knee injury sustained playing for Samoa in the Pacific Championships, the versatile forward then picked up another injury in that match – sidelining him for another eight weeks.

The former Cowboy’s struggles in many ways have been synonymous with the overall injury fortunes of the club tis year, with coach Wayne Bennett unable to name the same lineup for two weeks in a row.

“It's definitely a bit tough for me, but then I look at my injuries and I look at other boys like Tom Gilbert, who's out for the whole season and Thomas Flegler and it just puts it into perspective,” Lemuelu said.

“With someone like Gilbert, he's the heart and soul of our team and our squad, so not having him out there, it's tough, but it's always good for us to go out there and play good games and grind out those little wins for him.

“I'm blessed to be where I am and to be able to come back and play these games.

Connelly Lemuelu Try

“It's just up to me to keep chipping away at my craft and when I get the opportunity to play first grade, just go out there and make the most of it."

Sitting in the top four heading into Sunday's game, the tide may be turning for the Dolphins on the injury front with the inclusion of Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow coming after the successful return of strike centre Herbie Farnworth in Round 10.

Max Plath (head knock) is expected to return in Round 12 against the Warriors, leaving just Flegler and Gilbert as the club's long-term absentees in the forwards.

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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