26 May 2024

NRL Warriors v Dolphins: All you need to know

2:06 pm on 26 May 2024
Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad of the Warriors dejected.

Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad has been ruled out of the Warriors match against the Dolphins. Photo: © NRL Photos 2024

Warriors v Dolphins

Kickoff: 6.05pm, Sunday 26 May

Go Media Stadium Mt Smart, Auckland

Live blog updates on RNZ Sport

The Warriors' task today against the Dolphins just got that much harder, with Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad ruled out with illness.

Rocco Berry has also been pulled from the side after failing to recover from a hand injury.

Originally named to play at five-eighth, Nicoll-Klokstad is replaced by Chanel Harris-Tavita, with Moala Graham-Taufa starting at centre in the 22-year-old's first-grade debut.

The Warriors found themselves the talk of the town after they stole the show at Magic Round in Brisbane last weekend, but then were dealt a savage midweek reality check when it was made public that star front rower Addin Fonua-Blake has been stood down for this weekend's game.

In classic Wayne Bennett style, his imminent move to the Rabbitohs could be taken as a bit of an attempt to shift the focus onto himself and away from the Dolphins, who currently sit fourth on the NRL ladder.

The team found themselves in a near-identical position last season before slumping to just three wins out of their final 14 games, but after a strong showing against the Tigers last weekend they're not showing signs of falling off the pace any time soon.

Addin Fonua-Blake scores the first try of the Warriors 2024 season.

Addin Fonua-Blake scores the first try of the Warriors 2024 season against the Sharks in March. Photo: Photosport

Here's a look at the teams:

Warriors: 1. Taine Tuaupiki 2. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 23. Moala Graham-Taufa 4. Adam Pompey 5. Marcelo Montoya 20. Chanel Harris-Tavita 7. Te Maire Martin 10. Bunty Afoa 9. Freddy Lussick 17. Marata Niukore 11. Jackson Ford 12. Mitchell Barnett (c) 13. Dylan Walker

Interchange: 14. Tom Ale 15. Jazz Tevaga 16. Jacob Laban 18. Paul Roache

Dolphins: 1. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow 2. Jamayne Isaako 3. Jake Averillo 4. Herbie Farnworth 5. Jack Bostock 6. Kodi Nikorima 7. Isaiya Katoa 8. Jesse Bromwich (c) 9. Jeremy Marshall-King 10. Mark Nicholls 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Euan Aitken 13. Max Plath

Interchange: 14. Josh Kerr 15. Kenneath Bromwich 16. Ray Stone 17. Connelly Lemuelu

Warriors selections

Warriors players Marata Niukore celebrates his try during the New Zealand Warriors v Canberra Raiders, Round 21 rugby league match of the 2023 NRL Premiership season at Go Media Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland, New Zealand. Friday 21 July 2023. © Photo credit: Andrew Cornaga / www.photosport.nz

Marata Niukore celebrates a try during the Warriors game against the Canberra Raiders in July 2023. Photo: Andrew Cornaga/www.photosport.nz

No Shaun Johnson this week, or Wayde Egan, who is replaced by Freddy Lussick.

Again we see Taine Tuaupiki step into the fullback role as Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad remains at five-eighth with Te Maire Martin in the halfback role. Marata Niukore is rushed straight back into starting prop, with Paul Roache retained on the bench as utility cover.

Dolphins selections

Kodi Nikorima scores for the Warriors during their win over the Penrith Panthers

Kodi Nikorima scores for the Warriors during their win over the Penrith Panthers Photo: © Photosport Ltd 2019 www.photosport.nz

Max Plath returns from concussion protocol standdown this week for the Dolphins, who besides that remain unchanged from last weekend. Former Warriors halfback Kodi Nikorima has been setting the league alight this season, leading his side to an impressive 7 - 3 record that sees them sitting in fourth on the NRL ladder.

Past results

Warriors 30 - 8 Dolphins

Warriors 10 - 34 Dolphins

It seems the two clubs were taking turns running riot on each other at different parts of the season last year, first up with the Warriors beginning a hot streak of form by notching up an impressive 30 - 8 victory over the Dolphins. In the return match, which was the last game of the regular season, the Dolphins turned the tables on a weakened Warriors side, winning 34 - 10.

Being based over in Redcliffe for a big stint of their Covid years, they share a special bond with the Dolphins, as well as Nikorima and Euan Aitken signing there after their stints at the Warriors.


The Warriors will head into this Sunday's match against The Dolphins at Mt Smart with a new-found confidence, after notching up such a big win last weekend.

The Dolphins field a very similar-styled team to the Warriors, relying heavily on team work rather than individual brilliance. Having a proven game plan will really serve the Warriors well after looking extremely disjointed the month prior.

Besides practising good discipline when it comes to errors and penalties, both teams will be looking to make strong contact up front and win the game in the middle first.

Then it will be down to both teams' halves to engage the opposition lines and provide opportunities on attack.

The last two games between these sides have been high-scoring shootouts with plenty of tries scored, but this Sunday's game might come down to more of a grind to see who can poke their noses ahead at the end of the 80 minutes.