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NRL Match Preview: Round 15 v Dolphins

With a bye next week, the Sharks will leave nothing in the tank against the Dolphins in a blockbuster 'Battle of the Fins' at PointsBet Stadium on Thursday night.

Despite a five-day turnaround from Saturday's victory over the Broncos in Brisbane, Cronulla are invigorated by the challenge of hosting the fourth-placed Dolphins.

"We're putting all our focus and energy into this game - we know there's an opportunity ahead of us to have a rest," Sharks hooker Blayke Brailey said.

Returning to their Shire base for the first time since a heavy loss to the Panthers in Round 12, Brailey and his teammates are determined to make amends for their loyal supporters.

"We want to defend our home and protect it at all costs," the dummy-half declared.

The Coach's Mail - Round 15

The Dolphins are making their maiden trip to PointsBet Stadium, with the teams having only faced off in Magic Round last year when Wayne Bennett's side claimed a 36-16 win.

Sitting in second position, Cronulla have accumulated an imposing record against the elite clubs this season, beating five of their fellow current top-eight teams (including the Raiders twice).

Victory over the Dolphins would catapult the Sharks back to the top of the ladder – pending the Storm's clash with the Warriors on Saturday – leading into a timely week off.

"(The Dolphins have) been really consistent in their footy," Fitzgibbon said.

"Even when they haven't won, they've been close on the scoreboard.

"They know what they're about, they know what sort of team they want to be and they pose a difficult challenge for us … They'll be fresh off the back of a bye and wanting to come down here and perform well. For us, we've got not much time to address last week.

"We'll just move straight onto the Dolphins and address this one."

For just the third time in the club's history, the Sharks have posted 10 or more wins after 13 matches. They went on to claim the minor premiership after achieving the feat in 1999 and famously took out the competition having done so in 2016.

"We've got a few good wins and a few pretty average losses too," prop Tom Hazelton said of the team's start to 2024.

"We're just working hard every day here and the most important game is the one on Thursday against the Dolphins. That's all our attention is on at the moment."

Nicho Hynes will slot back into the team at halfback after shaking off a lingering calf injury. The marquee playmaker was rested last weekend having played for NSW on Wednesday.

In a tough call, Fitzgibbon has opted to rekindle the scrum-base partnership between Hynes and Braydon Trindall, with Daniel Atkinson shifting to 18th man duties.

Nicho Hynes is fit and ready to fire.
Nicho Hynes is fit and ready to fire.

Hynes and Trindall linked brilliantly to begin the year but haven't joined forces since Round 7.

"Up until Tricky (Trindall) was taken out, he'd done a lot of combination work with Nicho," Fitzgibbon explained, adding that Atkinson could still play a key role as a bench utility in the rounds ahead.

Elsewhere, Braden Hamlin-Uele will return to a high-powered, all-forward interchange in place of Tuku Hau Tapuha, who is set to turn out for NSW Cup feeder club Newtown on Saturday.

For the Dolphins, Kodi Nikorima will replace Anthony Milford at five-eighth after missing their last-start loss to the Raiders with a calf complaint. He will captain the side in the absence of front-rower Jesse Bromwich (rib injury).

The Sharks-Dolphins clash will kick off NRL Beanie for Brain Cancer Round in support of the Mark Hughes Foundation.

"Terrific initiative from a terrific man, Boozy (Hughes), one of the more popular figures in our game. What a trail he's blazed since his issue a number of years ago now," Fitzgibbon said.

"They've sold over a million beanies now (since 2017), so it's an incredible achievement. He's a terrific man and it's wonderful the game's supporting him in that."

Kick-off is at 7.50pm. Gates open at 5.30pm before the Sharks take on the Storm in an under-21 Jersey Flegg match at 5.35pm.

CLICK HERE to secure your tickets for the Battle of the Fins.

See the updated 19-man team lists below.

Team Lists


  • Fullback for Sharks is number 1 William Kennedy
    Fullback for Dolphins is number 1 Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow
  • Winger for Sharks is number 2 Sione Katoa
    Winger for Dolphins is number 2 Jamayne Isaako
  • Centre for Sharks is number 3 Jesse Ramien
    Centre for Dolphins is number 3 Jake Averillo
  • Centre for Sharks is number 4 Kayal Iro
    Centre for Dolphins is number 4 Herbie Farnworth
  • Winger for Sharks is number 5 Ronaldo Mulitalo
    Winger for Dolphins is number 5 Jack Bostock
  • Five-Eighth for Sharks is number 6 Braydon Trindall
    Five-Eighth for Dolphins is number 6 Kodi Nikorima
  • Halfback for Sharks is number 7 Nicholas Hynes
    Halfback for Dolphins is number 7 Isaiya Katoa


  • Prop for Sharks is number 8 Toby Rudolf
    Prop for Dolphins is number 8 Kenneath Bromwich
  • Hooker for Sharks is number 9 Blayke Brailey
    Hooker for Dolphins is number 9 Jeremy Marshall-King
  • Prop for Sharks is number 10 Oregon Kaufusi
    Prop for Dolphins is number 10 Felise Kaufusi
  • 2nd Row for Sharks is number 11 Briton Nikora
    2nd Row for Dolphins is number 11 Connelly Lemuelu
  • 2nd Row for Sharks is number 12 Siosifa Talakai
    2nd Row for Dolphins is number 12 Euan Aitken
  • Lock for Sharks is number 13 Cameron McInnes
    Lock for Dolphins is number 13 Max Plath


  • Interchange for Sharks is number 14 Jack Williams
    Interchange for Dolphins is number 14 Josh Kerr
  • Interchange for Sharks is number 15 Thomas Hazelton
    Interchange for Dolphins is number 15 Mark Nicholls
  • Interchange for Sharks is number 16 Braden Hamlin-Uele
    Interchange for Dolphins is number 16 Ray Stone
  • Interchange for Sharks is number 17 Royce Hunt
    Interchange for Dolphins is number 17 Kurt Donoghoe


  • Replacement for Sharks is number 18 Daniel Atkinson
    Replacement for Dolphins is number 18 Oryn Keeley

Match Officials

  • Referee: Todd Smith
  • Touch Judge: Wyatt Raymond
  • Touch Judge: Drew Oultram
  • Senior Review Official: Gerard Sutton

Last updated:

Acknowledgement of Country

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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