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Dolphins show promise ahead of official season start

Despite one win and one loss in the pre-season challenge, the Dolphins have showed they mean business as we head into the official start of the 2024 NRL season. The Dolphins overcame some poor discipline and a determined Gold Coast Titans side to notch up a 26-14 win in their first pre-season challenge match on February 18. 

 

Sitting in for Wayne Bennett for the pre-season challenge match, Dolphins coach Kristian Woolf named a strong line-up, giving fans the first look at new signings Thomas Flegler, Herbie Farnworth and Jake Averillo. Herbie Farnworth got off to a great start, scoring only seven minutes into his club debut. It's not often that the prop forward crosses for tries, so it was understandable that Jarrod Wallace celebrated strongly after going in for an easy four-pointer. The try also helped the Dolphins regain the lead after being frustrated by a determined Titans side.  

 

With the first win under their belt, the Dolphins were eager to continue their streak across the ditch in the second week of the pre-season challenge against the Auckland Warriors on February 24.  

 

While they stayed in the contest for the entire match, the Dolphins couldn’t quite match the full force of the Warriors, going down 34-22. As an added blow, star forward Tom Gilbert suffered a suspected ACL injury just 45 minutes into the game. Gilbert missed most of the 2023 season after he injured his shoulder in game one of the State of Origin series. 

 

Gilbert was on the comeback trail in 2024 and poised for a big season for the Dolphins, but there are grave fears that he has suffered a major right knee injury after he changed direction and hit the turf just four minutes into the second half with his side down 18-6 to the Warriors. It would be a devastating blow for Gilbert and the Dolphins given how much they missed him last year (Gilbert underwent a shoulder reconstruction in June), with the former Cowboy establishing himself as one of the best young forwards in the game. Initial tests indicated a suspected ACL tear, but Gilbert was set to undergo further testing. 

 

“He’s a big part of our team and we are just gutted for him at the moment, but obviously we just have to wait and see what the scans say,” Dolphins assistant coach Nathan Fien said after the match. 

 

It’s Phins up time for the Dolphins as they start the official 2024 season against fellow Queensland side the Cowboys at Suncorp Stadium this Sunday (March 10). 

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