Dolphins: Aitken’s ‘strong and ready to go’

Published 1:35pm 13 February 2024

Dolphins: Aitken’s ‘strong and ready to go’
Words by Kylie Knight

The Dolphins are expected to give their top players an opportunity to earn a spot in the starting team for round one, when they play the Titans in their first Pre-Season Challenge this weekend.

Euan Aitken has been training hard all preseason and says he’s the fittest he’s been in years. It’s a fact not lost on Super Coach Wayne Bennett who gave the 28-year-old a pat on the back during this morning’s training session.

“He just commented on the training and me taking ownership of my role and doing it well. He’s been happy with my improvement over the preseason,” Aitken explains.

“I just rip in, whether it’s wrestle, fitness I think this is the fittest I’ve been in a couple of years now. It’s been a big preseason. I’m just strong and ready to go.

“I think it was the preseason before Christmas that got me into shape and I maintained it over Christmas. You try to enjoy yourself a little bit with family and friends, but you’ve got to make a few sacrifices here and there … I just did my training. I showed up ready to go.”

Aitken is not sure what to expect from the Titans, under new coach Des Hasler, but he knows his coaches will be watching the squad closely as they weigh up their options in a number of key positions including the halves.

“I know that every half in the team has been in the starting side throughout the preseason. He (Bennett) has definitely given everyone an opportunity to put their best game forward this weekend,” Aitken says.

“He’s going to probably play two sides of 13, so after that he’ll probably make a reduction of numbers for the game against the Warriors over in New Zealand. I think it’s going to be left up to the trials to see who’s going to get picked for round one.”

See the team list here 

Dolphins: Aitken’s ‘strong and ready to go’

Proving versatility

Throughout the preseason, Aitken has trained in the left back row, right back row, left centre and right centre. He’s well-positioned to play wherever the coach needs him.

“I’m just putting my best foot forward there to get a spot for round one. Wayne’s been pretty happy with how I’ve been training … just roll out this weekend for the trials and play my best footy and hopefully that will do the talking,” Aitken says.

“It (competition for spots) has gone up two-fold. Training is definitely harder than last year, we’re going to be fitter than last year, there’s a better squad than last year. That’s only going to make us go better on match day and hopefully had a great season after that.”

Dolphins: Aitken’s ‘strong and ready to go’

Happy camp

Disunity at cross-city rivals the Broncos, following a scuffle between captain Adam Reynolds and Pat Carrigan, has been in the headlines but Aitken says there are no problems within the Dolphins squad.

“We’re exceptionally tight,” he says laughing.

“We’re great. I don’t know what the news was … I don’t read it too often. Our squad’s been great, we’ve ripped into some Army camps, got closer and all the training and bonding we’ve been doing through the preseason … our combinations are getting better every day.

“Trials will hopefully flush out a few more errors and then be raring to go round one.”

See more photos from training below

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