Dolphins NRL: Wallace says everyone’s on notice

Published 2:00pm 13 March 2024

Dolphins NRL: Wallace says everyone’s on notice
Words by Kylie Knight

Dolphins NRL prop Jarrod Wallace says his teammates took training to a new level this morning after copping a spray from Head Coach Wayne Bennett, following their disappointing round one loss to the Cowboys.

As a result, halfback Sean O’Sullivan and centre Tesi Niu have been dropped and Connelly Lemuelu (knee) and Ray Stone (HIA) are out injured. Bennett spoke to many players individually on the training paddock this morning.

Injured prop Tom Gilbert (ACL) and Lemuelu were there to watch the session. 

See photos from today’s training session at the end of this story

Wallace who watched the 43-18 loss at Suncorp Stadium last Sunday as the 18th man says it was tough to endure from the sideline.

“It’s one of the hardest things I reckon you can do as a football player. You’re not injured, to sit there and kind of watch your team getting beat … we’re competitive, we train together, this is my second family … I love them like all my brothers, so to watch us go down the way we did was very hard,” he says.

“The good thing now is we have 26 rounds to fix it. The boys really ripped in today, we took it to a whole new level after copping a bit of a spray by Wayno, which was well-deserved.

“We didn’t put in the performance we wanted to and we got what we deserved.”

Wallace says the changes Bennett has made to this week’s team has put the whole squad on notice.

“I think everyone’s always on notice. Your spot is never safe in the NRL no matter who you are, whether you’re Jesse, myself, Fus (Kaufusi),” he says.

“We’ve got to make sure we’re performing every week and if we’re not doing what we need to do to … make sure we’re doing all the little one percenters, the things Wayne really looks for in a player and being held up to our standards … we’re obviously not going to be there next week.

“He was super disappointed with us on the weekend. We trained so hard and played some good footy in the trials and it just didn’t come out in that game on the weekend.

“He knows what our standard of footy is and the way we can play. He picks his team based on what he thinks is going to get the best outcome and when it doesn’t it hurts him just as much as it hurts us.”

Dolphins NRL: Wallace says everyone’s on notice

Tough decisions

Wallace says players who have been dropped this weekend would understand it’s part of playing in the NRL and they will train and work harder to regain their spots.

“From what I heard, Izzy (Isaiya Katoa) played really well for Norths on the weekend. He’s a fantastic young player and I really do think he’s got a huge future, especially at this club and especially in the NRL,” he says.

“He just leads us around so well. He glides across the ground. I reckon he’s going to be really good for us. He was out there and leading us around really well at training.”

Wallace is also looking forward to playing with Jake Averillo for the first time this season.

“He’s not man of many words but he’s a man of his actions. He obviously showed us what he can do in the trials.

“He’s lightning fast, he’s big and strong, he makes right decisions when he needs to and that what we need from him as a centre. I’m really looking forward to getting my first game with him properly.”

Wallace says the Dragons will be a tough team to beat this Sunday at Redcliffe’s Kayo Stadium (5.15pm kick-off) but taking them on at the club’s spiritual home will be special.

“There’s always emotion playing here. The blood, sweat and tears before us has been spilt on this field. It means a lot to the boys, especially the guys who grew up here, played juniors here,” he says.

“Redcliffe, they absolutely love their footy. This is the best part of … when we came into the comp last year … is coming back playing here. We’re super excited to get our first 2024 game here.

“I reckon it’s going to be loud. It’s going to be a fantastic game.

“When we come off the field after every game, to see the elderly people who live two minutes away and you see how much it means to them … we get to run out and the crowd’s going bonkers … it almost sounds like Suncorp Stadium.

“It means a lot more to the boys … the goosebumps.”

Dolphins fans are in for a great afternoon of footy, with the Hostplus Cup side playing a curtain-raiser from 2.10pm against Norths Devils.

See the photos from training today

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