July 14, 2024

NRL allows Dolphins to go outside their top 30 players for selection to have Trai Fuller at fullback for injured Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow

The Dolphins have again been given permission by the NRL to go outside their top 30 in order to field a team, as coach Wayne Bennett battles illness ahead of the round-seven clash with Parramatta.

Due to injury and suspension, 27-year-old Redcliffe Dolphins fullback Trai Fuller will line up against the Eels in Darwin on Friday.

Star regular number one Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow will miss four to six weeks with a hamstring tear, but that is not the only hurdle the Dolphins will have to overcome against Parramatta.

Bennett did not fly west with the team on Wednesday evening due to a bout of the flu and was still unable to travel to Darwin on Thursday.

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It is understood Bennett may not make the four-hour plane trip on Friday either, with his assistant Kristian Woolf on standby to take over for the game.

Last week, CQ Capras’ Queensland Cup forward Lachlan Hubner was given special dispensation by the NRL to play against Brisbane due to a shortage of forwards.

Hubner and Redcliffe’s Fuller are on NRL train-and-trial contracts with the Dolphins.

Competition rules state such players can only play at the elite level from round 11 onwards, but the governing body has allowed the Dolphins to bring them in earlier.

The Queensland outfit have at least eight of their top squad players either suspended or injured for round seven, including big guns Thomas Flegler, Herbie Farnworth and Felise Kaufusi.

Fuller was Queensland Cup player of the year in 2023 while playing for Redcliffe and is a try-scoring whiz.

 “He is a game breaker and one of the best players in the competition,” Redcliffe coach Ben Te’o said.

“Trai is our man of the match every week. He scores tries. He makes breaks and is just too hard for people to handle at that level.

“He is above the level of Queensland Cup.”

Te’o said Fuller would embrace the challenge of replacing Tabuai-Fidow and not be overwhelmed.

“Trai is not going to try and play like Hammer (Tabuai-Fidow), he will try and play his own game,” Te’o said.


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