Dolphins v Storm preview

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Dolphins v Melbourne Storm Friday 8:00pm at Suncorp Stadium, Milton / Yuggera-Turrbal

After narrowly beating the Sharks last week, the Dolphins will be looking to make another statement this week, taking on the top of the table Melbourne Storm.

Narrowly losing to both the Warriors and Raiders in Round 12 and 13 respectively, the Dolphins came back refreshed after their second bye of the season to claim their eighth 2024 season win against the Sharks. This sees the Dolphins sitting in fourth spot on the ladder, defying many fans' expectations and predictions.

With Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow and Felise Kaufusi away on Origin duties, Trai Fuller and Jesse Bromwich fill in at their positions, the latter returning from a rib injury that saw him sidelined for last week's match. Tevita Pangai Jnr also makes his NRL return through the bench after his mid-season signing with the South East QLD side.

The Melbourne side are comfortably sitting in first position all on their own and have won ten of the 13 matches they've played this season. Despite beating both the Knights and Warriors the past two weeks, they haven't boasted the best side, leaking a total of 52 points in these two matches, and could be playing even better football.

After missing five matches, Ryan Papenhuyzen makes his return to the side, this causes a shift in the back line with Sua Faalogo moving to wing as Xavier Coates is away on Origin duty. Will Warbrick also returns to the other wing, causing Grant Anderson to shift to the centre and Dean Ieremia to drop out of the side. Bronson Garlick moves to starting hooker with skipper Harry Grant in Origin camp. Trent Loiero is named as starting lock, who will be released from Origin camp for the match.

These two sides met once last year, with the Storm coming out on top 24-16 during Round 12. Although it could much be argued that the Dolphins are a changed and evolved team from that time, with them only needing two more wins this season to overtake the total number of wins from their inaugural season in 2023.

Last meeting: Round 12 2023 - Dolphins 16 Storm 24

Who to watch: Recently signing an extension with the Dolphins, Jeremy Marshall-King has cemented his position as starting hooker with the side. Despite only crossing the line twice this season, JMK has make six try assists, seven line break assists and ten offloads.

After a tragic start to the fullback's 2024 season (again), Ryan Papenhuyzen make's his long-awaited return after missing just over a month. With the Storm undergoing many changes to their spine with never-ending injuries across the board, the return of Paps will give the side a much-needed boost (although the efforts of Sua Faalogo and Tyran Wishart are not to be discounted by any level). Already scoring seven tries in his earlier eight appearances, it'll sure be a show for his homecoming in the side.

Favourites: The Storm are favoured to add the two points and stay in top position on the ladder for another week.

My tip: Both sides are fronting strong form and have shown their potential, although they both have weaknesses that aren't quite brushed off. I think it will be a tough competition between the two sides, especially with both missing key players away on Maroons duty, but I think Melbourne will come out on top by the end, with the Dolphins not able to withstand the stormy weather for the entire 80-minute contest. Melbourne by 10.

1. Trai Fuller 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. Kenny Bromwich 11. Connelly Lemuelu 12. Euan Aitken 13. Max Plath 14. Josh Kerr 15. Mark Nicholls 16. Ray Stone 17. Tevita Pangai Junior 18. Oryn Keeley

1. Ryan Papenhuyzen 2. William Warbrick 3. Grant Anderson 4. Nick Meaney 14. Jack Howarth 6. Tyran Wishart 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Tui Kamikamica 9. Bronson Garlick 10. Josh King 11. Shawn Blore 12. Eliesa Katoa 16. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 5. Sualauvi Faalogo 13. Trent Loiero 15. Christian Welch 17. Joe Chan 22. Kane Bradley

Referees: Liam Kennedy; Sideline Officials: Belinda Sharpe, Phil Henderson; Video Referees: Grant Atkins;

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