Dolphins v Wests Tigers preview

Embed from Getty Images
Dolphins v Wests Tigers Saturday 7:35pm at Suncorp Stadium, Milton / Yuggera-Turrbal

Rhys Sullivan previews all the action from the upcoming top of the table (!) clash between the Dolphins and the Wests Tigers.

Phins Up and Claws Out as Dolphins and Tigers go head to head

After 4 rounds of the NRL season, the Dolphins and Tigers are both Top 6 sides (as we're sure everyone would have predicted) leading into this Saturday night blockbuster.

The Dolphins come into this match off a 30-14 win over the Titans, their second straight victory with a bye thrown in between. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow was in fine touch with a try and two try assists, while Isaiya Katoa, Tom Flegler and Jack Bostock also starred.

The Tigers are also coming off back to back victories with a 17-16 win over the Eels on Easter Monday. Lachlan Galvin was the star in that match, however the 18 year old is out for the next two weeks after being suspended. Apisai Koroisau and Justin Olam also played key roles.

In terms of the direct matchup, both sides seem to have a similar level of defence through three games, although almost half of the Tigers 54 points conceded came in their first 40 minutes of the season, with just 5 tries given up in their last 5 halves of football. Attacking wise however the advantage is clearly with the Dolphins, who have scored 86 points compared to the Tigers 61.

Oddly enough the match being at Suncorp might also be an advantage for the Tigers, with the team winning 2 of their last 3 games at the venue while the Dolphins have lost 3 of their last 4.

Last meeting: Round 25 2023 - Wests Tigers 24 Dolphins 23

Who to watch: Immediately off the bat there are two key positional battles that pique my interest. The first is the battle of the fullbacks, where Tabuai-Fidow and Jahream Bula enter off the back of star performances. Even with his horror performance in Round 1, The Hammer averages almost 180 metres per game and has been responsible for 6 of the Dolphins 15 tries. Bula meanwhile averages 160 metres and has been responsible for 4 of the Tigers 10 tries.

The second major battle will be at the hookers, where NSW incumbent Koroisau meets his New Zealand counterpart (and brother of the Tigers coach) Jeremy Marshall-King. At 31, Koroisau is enjoying a career best start to the season, having been nothing short of a serious problem around the ruck for the Tigers. Marshall-King is also enjoying the form he showed in 2023, however the addition of a short kicking game has firmed him as one of the premier number 9's in the competition.

With Galvin missing the game, attention will be placed on Jayden Sullivan, who's been elevated back to the starting side after being dropped following their Round 2 loss to Canberra. But just as he was hooked that day for Aiden Sezer, the Tigers have named Latu Fainu to make his NRL debut and potentially usurp the five eight spot if given the opportunity.

The favourite: With the loss of Galvin, many people have favoured the Dolphins to get the win in this one

My tip: Although the Tigers have been one of the most exciting teams to watch over the past 2 weeks, the Dolphins have the weapons to fight fire with fire and I believe they will do just that. Phins by 12.

1. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow 2. Jamayne Isaako 3. Jake Averillo 4. Herbie Farnworth 5. Jack Bostock 6. Kodi Nikorima 7. Isaiya Katoa 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Jeremy Marshall-King 10. Thomas Flegler 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Euan Aitken 17. Kenny Bromwich 13. Ray Stone 14. Josh Kerr 15. Kurt Donoghoe 16. Mark Nicholls 18. Oryn Keeley

1. Jahream Bula 2. Charlie Staines 3. Solomona Faataape 4. Justin Olam 5. Junior Tupou 6. Jayden Sullivan 7. Aidan Sezer 8. Stefano Utoikamanu 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. David Klemmer 11. Isaiah Papali'i 12. John Bateman 13. Fonua Pole 14. Latu Fainu 15. Alex Seyfarth 16. Alex Twal 17. Samuela Fainu 18. Brent Naden

Follow all the action LIVE in our Match Centre