2023 NRL Preview Round 17: Dolphins Vs Eels

Nathan Smith previews the Saturday afternoon encounter between The Dolphins and Parramatta Eels. Here’s what we have to look forward to…



Dolphins Vs Parramatta Eels
Venue: Sunshine Coast Stadium, Sunshine Coast
Date: Saturday 24th June, 3:00pm


Dolphins: 1. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow 2. Jamayne Isaako 3. Euan Aitken 4. Valynce Te Whare 5. Brayden Mcgrady 6. Kodi Nikorima 7. Isaiya Katoa 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Jeremy Marshall-King 10. Herman Ese’ese 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Kenny Bromwich 13. Ray Stone 14. Josh Kerr 15. Mark Nicholls 16. Connelly Lemuelu 17. Max Plath 18. Harrison Graham 19. Sean O’Sullivan 20. Poasa Faamausili 21. Robert Jennings 22. Kurt Donoghoe

Eels: 1. Clinton Gutherson 2. Maika Sivo 3. Viliami Penisini 4. Bailey Simonsson 5. Sean Russell 6. Daejarn Asi 7. Mitchell Moses 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9. Brendan Hands 10. Junior Paulo 11. Bryce Cartwright 12. Andrew Davey 13. J’maine Hopgood 14. Ofahiki Ogden 15. Joe Ofahengaue 16. Ryan Matterson 17. Makahesi Makatoa 18. Haze Dunster 19. Matt Doorey 20. Luca Moretti 21. Waqa Blake 22. Shaun Lane

Referee: Peter Gough

Embed from Getty Images


Saturday afternoon sees the Dolphins match up against the Parramatta Eels for the first time. With both sides on the same amount of competition points, the winner gets a spot in the top eight and the loser drops out.

The home team, the Dolphins, are coming off a bye, and thus one should think will be relatively fresh. That said, their last game a fortnight ago was a dreadful display against the Manly Sea Eagles, and more akin to what punters expected from the at the season’s beginning.

On the other hand, the Parramatta Eels are in the midst of a four-game winning streak, with their most recent coming, coincidentally, against the Sea Eagles at 34-4. It was a win that launched them into the eight for the first time this year. A fifth straight win, with a bye next week, would set them up nicely into the season’s final stretch.

The Dolphins are bolstered by the return of Felise Kaufusi. He will relish the opportunity to take it to the Eels forwards. In past Dolphins victories, Kaufusi has usually found a couple of victims to make examples out of, setting the tone for his team. Sean O’Sullivan, who was brilliant for the Dolphins at the season’s start, has been named as a reserve and is a chance to play. Further, Jeremy Marshall-King has been named to return, while Josh Kerr comes straight on the bench after switching from the St George Illawarra Dragons. In short, this is the strongest The Dolphins have looked in some time.

Meanwhile, the Eels have named a team that looks relatively similar to last week’s, with the additions of their State of Origin representatives in Junior Paulo and Mitchell Moses. Furthermore, Shaun Lane has been named as a reserve and is a chance to make the 17 before kick-off.

The huge match-up is between the forward packs, if remains as named, are both monstrous. Ray Stone will be keen to put on a performance against his old club, and no better way to do it than take it to his opposite in J’Maine Hopgood, who has shown himself to be one of the best purchases of the year.

What interests the most is the Dolphins decision to play the big man Valynce Te Whare at centre. With a couple of pies on debut, he’s shown himself as a player with plenty of ticker. Playing out wide could enable him to use his size to crash over, or otherwise attract defenders, however there’s no question that the Eels will be asking plenty of questions about his defence and stamina.


First meeting


Eels by 12

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