2024 NRL: Round 8 Preview, Dolphins Vs Knights

Check out the match preview and prediction for the round 8 clash between the Dolphins and Newcastle.

MATCHDAY NEWS

MATCHDAY SCHEDULE

The Dolphins Vs Newcastle Knights
Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
Date: Sunday, 28 April 2024, 2pm

MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS

Dolphins1. Trai Fuller, 2. Jamayne Isaako, 3. Jake Averillo, 4. Tesi Niu, 5. Jack Bostock, 6. Kodi Nikorima, 7. Isaiya Katoa, 8. Jesse Bromwich, 9. Jeremy Marshall-King, 10. Mark Nicholls, 11. Kenny Bromwich, 12. Euan Aitken, 13. Max Plath, 14. Josh Kerr, 15. Kurt Donoghoe, 16. Ray Stone, 17. Oryn Keeley, 18. Mason Teague, 19. Sean O’Sullivan, 20. Jarrod Wallace, 21. Valynce Te Whare, 22. Connelly Lemuelu

Players cut from final squad:

Knights: 1. David Armstrong, 2. Greg Marzhew, 3. Dane Gagai, 4. Bradman Best, 5. Enari Tuala, 6. Tyson Gamble, 7. Jackson Hastings, 8. Jacob Saifiti, 9. Jayden Brailey, 10. Leo Thompson, 11. Dylan Lucas, 12. Kai Pearce-Paul, 13. Adam Elliott, 14. Phoenix Crossland, 15. Daniel Saifiti, 16. Jed Cartwright, 17. Brodie Jones, 18. Mathew Croker, 19. Thomas Cant, 20. Jack Cogger, 21. Will Pryce, 22. Krystian Mapapalangi

Players cut from final squad:

Referee: Liam Kennedy

Embed from Getty Images

MATCHDAY PREVIEW

Full strength sides this game could have been a magnificent showcase of some of the great fullbacks in the NRL, but sadly for both sides, and fans in general, neither Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow or Kalyn Ponga will be playing. Ponga looks to be out for months after injury in last weekend’s loss to the Bulldogs, while Tabuai-Fidow (aka The Hammer) injured himself at this ground two weeks in the derby loss to the Broncos.

Although Dolphins fans can point to the performance of Trai Fuller in last weekend’s win over Parramatta with some justification that he belongs in the top grade after finally getting an extended chance. When they were under the pump, he was quick to clean up or be there with a key tackle, and when the Dolphins exploded in the second half he was in the mix. It is a reward a long time coming for Fuller, who has been magnificent in the Queensland Cup for Redcliffe for years. Similarly at fullback the Knights have named a promising player from the NSW Cup in David Armstrong, who at 23 is making a later NRL debut than most but was added to the Knights’ Top 30 for 2024. He has scored 23 tries in 28 games for Newcastle in the NSW Cup since 2022, scoring five tries this season in five games and equal leading the NSW Cup for line breaks.

In other squad news the Dolphins are still without key off-season signings Herbie Farnworth and Tom Flegler, but do welcome back Connelly Lemuelu onto an extended bench. A big inclusion for Newcastle is Dane Gagai, who has had plenty of success at the ground for Queensland and even had a stint at Redcliffe in the Queensland Cup before heading to Newcastle for the first time.

The Dolphins come into Sunday’s game in decent form. Beating Parramatta with eight second half tries last Friday in Darwin was one of the club’s best results in their short history, but one does wonder if the effort spent in the heat in Darwin last Friday will have any effect. The Dolphins are three wins from four games since their bye and sit third on the ladder, which even with an easier run of games than other teams it is still a magnificent result. Other teams are doing less with more this season. Newcastle are currently sitting 15th with two wins and five losses and have lost all three away games so far in 2024. It’s a long way from their scintillating run in the last few months of the 2023 NRL season, when Ponga was almost untouchable.

Squad strengths and injuries aside, there’s one key stat that goes against Newcastle winning on Sunday. Newcastle have lost 20 games in a row away to Queensland sides in Queensland. Their last win was in 2015.

Head-to-head stats can be found at Round 8 Number Crunch.

MATCHDAY PREDICTION

Dolphins by 8 points.

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