2023 NRL Preview Round 1: Dolphins Vs Roosters

The Dolphins make their NRL debut on Sunday at Suncorp Stadium in an early test against one of the premiership favourites for the inaugural Arthur Beetson Cup.



Dolphins Vs Sydney Roosters
Venue: Suncorp Stadium
Date: Sunday March 5, 3:05pm (local)


Dolphins: 1. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow 2. Jamayne Isaako 3. Euan Aitken 4. Brenko Lee 5. Tesi Niu 6. Isaiya Katoa 7. Sean O’Sullivan 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Jeremy Marshall-King 10. Jarrod Wallace 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Kenny Bromwich 13. Tom Gilbert 14. Herman Ese’ese 15. Mark Nicholls 16. Ray Stone 17. Kurt Donoghoe 18. Connelly Lemuelu 19. Poasa Faamausili 20. Mason Teague 21. Anthony Milford 22. Robert Jennings

Roosters: 1. James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Joseph Suaalii 4. Corey Allan 5. Jaxson Paulo 6. Luke Keary 7. Sam Walker 8. Lindsay Collins 9. Brandon Smith 10. Matthew Lodge 11. Egan Butcher 12. Nat Butcher 13. Victor Radley 14. Drew Hutchison 15. Fletcher Baker 16. Naufahu Whyte 17. Terrell May 18. Jake Turpin 19. Tuku Hau Tapuha 20. Sandon Smith 21. Siua Wong 22. Junior Pauga

Referee: Chris Butler

Embed from Getty Images

The wait is finally over for excited long-time Redcliffe fans and enthusiastic recent Dolphins NRL converts as the newest franchise takes to Suncorp Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Much of the talk around the Dolphins NRL since their entry was rubber stamped, was the recruitment and lack of a marquee signing, so it is an interesting coincidence that they face the team whose ability to attract players seems limitless. Especially interesting given one of the Roosters key signings for 2023 is Brandon Smith, who teased the Dolphins with the possibility of being one of those marquee players.

But rugby league moves on and the Dolphins finally get to do their talking on the field, and their first ever matchday squad looks competitive enough to hold their own against the Roosters. Perhaps not strong enough to be a season-long finals challenger, but with the extra emotion of the big day they might just surprise.

Wayne Bennett hasn’t been afraid to make the big calls early for the Dolphins first match, by selecting rookie Isaiya Katoa ahead of Anthony Milford at five-eighth. Katoa was recruited from Penrith with an eye for the future, but his World Cup performances in addition to trial form, plus Milford looking quite lacklustre in the final trial against the Titans has seen Bennett make the big call. Based on trial form, they have nothing to lose with the move. Milford is still named in the extended bench.

Outside the five-eighth decision, the starting side is probably as most would have expected, although the three-quarters could have been any old combination. The Dolphins have gone with a steady hand in the centres with Brenko Lee and Euan Aitken, and Broncos refugees Jamayne Isaako and Tesi Niu are on the wings.

There’s still enough room for a bolter in the first ever Dolphins squad however, with Kurt Donoghoe making the bench. The Newcastle product was signed in the off-season for the Dolphins Rockhampton based feeder club Central Capras but has obviously shone enough in the pre-season trials for the Dolphins to earn his spot.

The Roosters have named a very strong side, but the Dolphins have at least been spared Joey Manu on Sunday afternoon as he misses out with a facial injury. Off season recruit Corey Allen has been named to replace him, forming a strong centre pairing with Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii. Another off season recruit, Jaxson Paulo earns a spot on the wing.

There a few names missing from the Roosters forward pack with Jared Waerea-Hargreaves out this weekend with a back injury, with Angus Crichton, Sitili Tupouniua and Billy Smith out for the foreseeable future. On paper, the Dolphins are most closely matched with the Roosters for starting forwards than anywhere else on the field, so if it is a middle third arm wrestle the Dolphins might be more competitive than most think.

That’s not to say the combination of Sean O’Sullivan and Katoa won’t excite the fans at Suncorp Stadium, but the experience and class of the Roosters spine and clinical finishing of the wide players looks like it will be the decisive factor.

Also going against the Dolphins is the Roosters magnificent recent record against Queensland sides, and they are also on a winning streak at Suncorp Stadium.

The teams will be playing for the Arthur Beetson Cup, with the rugby league immortal having played for the Redcliffe Dolphins before heading to the Sydney competition and spent eight seasons as a player at Easts. He also coached both clubs after his playing career.

No matter the result, it is a huge moment for the Redcliffe and Dolphins fans new and old, in front of what will hopefully a big crowd at Suncorp Stadium, starting a new era of rugby league in Brisbane.


These teams have never met, but the Roosters have won nine straight against all Queensland sides and lost one of their last 16. And four in a row at Suncorp Stadium.


Roosters by 12 points.

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Comments (1)

  1. Avatar
    Michael Kilala

    It’s gonna be an interesting first encounter for both sides. As a Papua New Guinean, I will still go for my country man J olam. On the other end, considering the injuries plus the new blokes within the each of the 17 squard, I think it will be an advantage home game for the Para boys.

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