The first year team, the Dolphins, will face the Warriors in an attempt to continue their outstanding debut season. Despite the Warriors‘ recent loss to the Broncos in Napier, much of the focus was on Adam Pompey‘s mistake that prevented his team from making a late effort to win. However, the Warriors had already allowed the Broncos to take a significant lead of 26-10 before they rallied for a comeback.
Although the Warriors remain in the top eight in terms of for and against, their momentum has been hindered by four out of five losses in previous games. The Warriors had made a promising start to their season with six successive victories but have since struggled.
The Dolphins recorded a remarkable achievement with a 7-5 record after overcoming the absence of key players Felise Kaufusi, Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow and Tom Gilbert and defeating the Dragons. They now stand sixth on the ladder. This success is particularly extraordinary given it is the first season in the big league for the first-year team.
Looking ahead, the Dolphins are scheduled to play the Warriors, Sea Eagles and Eels before a highly-anticipated rematch with the Broncos in Round 18. With such a strong position on the ladder, Wayne Bennett‘s players have an opportunity to emulate the excellent performances of the Melbourne team in 1998 and the St George Illawarra team in 1999 by playing in the finals during their inaugural season.