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NRL: Dolphins and Broncos set for derby showdown

Excitement is building ahead of Friday night’s NRL action with the Dolphins and Brisbane Broncos set to clash for the first time.

Week four got off to a thrilling start on Thursday night as Parramatta Eels beat the Penrith Panthers on golden point and hopefully it is a sign of things to come for the rest of the week.

A stunning two-point field goal from Penrith star Nathan Cleary took the game to golden point, but it counted for nothing in the end as Mitch Moses slotted a drop goal to earn the Eels their first win of the season. 

Now all eyes turn to Friday and the game between the Dolphins and Broncos has the potential to upstage the Eels and Panthers contest. The Dolphins have begun their debut campaign in fine style with three straight wins, while the Broncos are also unbeaten.  Something will have to give on Friday night.

It is sure to be one of the NRL’s great rivalries for years to come and it all gets underway at Suncorp Stadium. 

Earlier in the night Melbourne Storm take on a Wests Tigers side that have yet to win this season and the pressure is already mounting on Tim Sheens' team. 

All in all, these are two cracking games to look forward to, so let’s take a closer look at each match-up.

What:Melbourne Storm v Wests Tigers
Where:AAMI Park, Melbourne
When:18:00 (AEST) Friday 24th March 2023
How to watch:Kayo, Foxtel
Odds:Storm 1.31, Tigers 3.50

Munster returns for Storm

Melbourne Storm have been handed a huge boost with the news that star playmaker Cameron Munster is back in the fold after recovering from a finger injury. 

Munster suffered the injury in the opening round win over Parramatta and has not played in the back-to-back defeats against the Canterbury Bulldogs and Gold Coast Titans since. 

The five-eighth has been sorely missed and having him back pulling the strings will be a big boost to Craig Bellamy’s side. 

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Eels attempt to stop the rot

Broncos target third win on the bounce

However, it is not all good news as the Storm have lost halfback Jahrome Hughes for two matches after he landed a ‘Dangerous Contact’ charge. Jonah Pezet will take his place to play alongside Munster in the halves.

Melbourne have been conceding way too may points in the last two games, 64 in total, and Bellamy will be keen for his side to tighten things up against the Tigers.

Tigers need a boost

Despite plenty of change at the club, the Tigers are 0-3 for the new season, just like they were in 2022 and the pressure is already on the new regime.

The games against the Titans, Knights and Bulldogs would have been viewed as ‘must-win’ heading into the season, but they have lost all three and now face tough games against the Storm and Brisbane Broncos.

Api Koroisau will be key for the Tigers against his former club, while John Bateman and Isaiah Papali’i will play together in the back row for the first time. Daine Laurie will also start on the bench after recovering from injury.

What:Dolphins v Brisbane Broncos
Where:Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane
When:20:00 (AEST) Friday 24th March 2023
How to watch:Channel 9, Kayo, Foxtel
Odds:Dolphins 3.75, Broncos 1.28

Kaufusi out for Dolphins

The Dolphins have exceeded all expectations in their debut NRL campaign so far, winning all three games under the guidance of coach Wayne Bennett.

They have passed every test to date, including a tricky trip to Newcastle and now they face an even bigger one, as they must get the job done against the Broncos without Felise Kaufusi.

The former Melbourne Storm star has been a revelation this season but will now miss the next four games after being handed a ‘Dangerous Contact’ charge following a late hit on Newcastle’s Jackson Hastings.

Poasa Faamausili will come into the second row to replace him but it is a hole that will take some filling. Isaiya Katoa has been struggling with an elbow injury throughout the week but has been named to start at five-eighth.

Just to add some extra spice to the game, former Broncos Jamayne Isaako, Tesi Niu, Brenko Lee and Kodi Nikorima will all line-up for the Dolphins.

Same again for Broncos

The Broncos have no fresh injury, concussion or suspension worries so Kevin Walters will be able to name the same side that crushed the Dragons last week.

They have also beaten the Panthers and Cowboys this season and will be out to make it four wins on the bounce in front of a packed Suncorp Stadium. Payne Haas has a huge role to play in the forwards as he goes head-to-head with the vastly experience Kenneath Bromwich.

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