Sharks eye four in-a-row in Magic Round showdown versus Dolphins

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The clash will mark Bennett’s 900th game as a first-grade coach – an extraordinary milestone for the 73-year-old.

Bennett’s first-grade coaching career began as a co-coach with the Raiders in 1987 before spending 21 years with the Broncos leading them to six premiership victories.

He went on to lead St. George Illawarra to a premiership in 2010 followed by stints at Newcastle, again at Brisbane, and South Sydney before being named the Dolphins’ inaugural head coach.

Cronulla are coming off a 44-6 demolition of the Cowboys at PointsBet Stadium in which star half Nicho Hynes took home the Paul Green Medal for best on ground.

A walk-off, Jamal Fogarty field goal, meanwhile, proved the difference in the Dolphins last-start, 31-30 loss to the Raiders in Wagga Wagga.

The Sharks are set to welcome Dale Finucane back from suspension and into the starting lineup with Cameron McInnes shifting back to the bench.

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Braden Hamlin-Uele is set to miss up to a month of action after suffering an MCL injury as a result of an ugly hip drop courtesy of Cowboys back-rower Jeremiah Nanai.

Royce Hunt will start in the front row in place of the Sāmoan international.

For the Dolphins, Tesi Niu returns from a six-week, injury layoff to replace Robert Jennings on the left wing whilst rookie Mason Teague comes onto the interchange in place of Ray Stone who suffered a head knock in the side’s loss to Canberra.

Anthony Milford also makes his return from a hamstring injury replacing Kurt Donoghoe on the interchange.

Brenko Lee has been named to start in the centres despite failing to finish their Round 9 clash due to a hamstring complaint.

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Should Lee fail to prove his fitness for Saturday evening’s clash, Waikato-native Valynce Te Whare looks a chance to make his NRL debut.

The 22-year-old, rugby union convert scored a dozen tries in just 14 Queensland Cup games last season and is fresh off a 140-metre, five-tackle break effort in a win over the Sunshine Coast Falcons last weekend.

This clash marks the first ever between the Sharks and the Dolphins at NRL level.

Despite the match being played at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium along with the seven other NRL clashes this weekend, the Sharks are listed as the home team.

The Dolphins have already played four home games at the venue this season having won two and lost two.


Suncorp has proven a rather unhappy hunting ground for the Sharks over the years with the club having won just six of their past 21 outings at the venue.

They have also lost their past two Magic Round clashes.

Following their loss to Canberra, the Dolphins have dropped out of the top eight for the first time since entering the premiership but Bennett’s men will be eager to lift for what shapes to be a decisive clash.

The Dolphins will have their hands full with Cronulla’s attack – which has proven to be the premiership’s most potent attack nine weeks in – after conceding 22 or more in their past five games.

Cronulla enter this one as comfortable favourites with bookmakers forecasting Craig Fitzgibbon’s men to put their below-average Suncorp record behind them and spoil Bennett’s historic milestone.

Game & Team Details

Kick-off: Saturday 6 May (5:30pm), Suncorp Stadium

Sharks squad: 1. Kennedy; 2. Katoa; 3. Ramien; 4. Talakai; 5. Mulitalo; 6. Moylan; 7. Hynes; 8. Kaufusi; 9. Brailey; 10. Hunt; 11. Nikora; 12. Wilton; 13. Finucane; 14. McInnes; 15. Williams; 16. Graham (c); 17. Hazelton; 18. Trindall; 19. Tracey; 20. Colquhoun; 21. Hiroti; 22. Berrell

Dolphins squad: 1. Tabuai-Fidow; 2. Isaako; 3. Aitken; 4. B Lee; 5. Niu; 6. Nikorima; 7. Katoa; 8. J Bromwich (c); 9. Marshall-King; 10. K Bromwich; 11. Kaufusi; 12. Lemuelu; 13. Gilbert; 14. Wallace; 15. Milford; 16. Teague; 17. Ese'ese; 18. Donoghoe; 19. Fa'amausili; 20. E Lee; 21. Te Whare; 22. Collins

Cameron Laing
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