Full Time
7:50pm Thu July 11, 2024
Round 19 - Kayo Stadium, Redcliffe / Kabi Kabi - Crowd: 10023

Round 19: Dolphins v Rabbitohs preview

Wayne's world: present vs. past and future

All eyes will be on Wayne Bennett as the current coach of the Dolphins takes on the South Sydney Rabbitohs - his past and future club - in an Origin-impacted fixture on Thursday evening.

Coming into the final Origin-impacted round after their third bye of the season last week, the Dolphins will be hoping to arrest a disappointing run which has yielded one win from their past five matches.

Unable to call upon Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow and Felise Kaufusi due to representative commitments, coach Wayne Bennett has been dealt a major blow with Jeremy Marshall-King sidelined with a foot injury until the final weeks of the regular season.

Jack Bostock returns in the backline with Josh Kerr doing likewise in the forward pack, while Max Plath moves from lock to hooker as part of a rotation which sees Sean O'Sullivan join the bench.

The Dolphins will make their final appearance at Kayo Stadium this season; the league's newest team have won four out of five matches at the Redcliffe venue with their lone loss occurring against the Raiders prior to Origin I.

Progressing up the ladder to remarkably sit on the precipice of the top eight, the South Sydney Rabbitohs will be aiming to show their future coach what they're capable of right now.

Posting their fifth successive victory with a 32-16 win over the Eels last Thursday, interim coach Ben Hornby has recalled Jye Gray and Liam Le Blanc with Latrell Mitchell (injury) and Cameron Murray (NSW) unavailable.

Winning eight out of 17 matches leading into Origin over the past decade, the Rabbitohs have vastly improved during their run of five wins, averaging 31 points in attack and 13 points in defence, compared with 16 points in attack and 35 points in defence during their first ten matches.

Last meeting: Round 7 2023 - Dolphins 14 Rabbitohs 36

Who to watch: Enjoying a stellar campaign to stand as one of the leading rookie of the year contenders, Max Plath will take on added responsibility by starting at hooker for the first time in the top grade. Shifting closer to the action with Jeremy Marshall-King set to spend an extended stint on the sideline, the 22-year-old has been explosive through the middle of the field while playing above his weight in defence. Coming up against the experienced Damien Cook in a key positional battle, the Dolphins will need strong service from Plath if they hope to arrest their mid-season malaise.

Shifting from an edge to the middle of the field in recent weeks, Keaon Koloamatangi has embodied the gains made by the Rabbitohs during their mid-season resurgence. Performing as well as - if not exceeding - the form that saw him debut for the Blues a year ago, the 26-year-old has run for over 200 metres in each of the side's wins while also crossing for four tries. Coming up against a Dolphins pack boasting some of the most experienced forwards in the league, the Rabbitohs will be looking for Koloamatangi to maintain his work rate in order to come away with two vital points on Thursday evening.

FAVOURITE: The Dolphins have won both of their games following a bye this season and are expected to complete the hat-trick on Thursday evening.

MY TIP: The Rabbitohs have gone from rock bottom to a team capable of not only toppling a struggling Dolphins side but contending for the top eight. Rabbitohs by 14.