Lemuelu, Dolphins’ good luck charm

Published 1:05pm 23 May 2024

Lemuelu, Dolphins’ good luck charm
Words by Kylie Knight

Connelly Lemuelu may well be the Dolphins’ good-luck charm – the NRL side has not lost a game since he returned from injury in round nine.

He’s hoping that run of good luck and form continues when they take on the Warriors in Auckland on Sunday (4.05pm kick-off).

The Warriors will be full of confidence after beating Penrith Panthers during Magic Round.

“They’re always a tough side to play, especially at home. They put in a great performance on the weekend against the premiers,” Lemuelu says.

“We’re just expecting them to come out firing. They had quite a young side last week … as we know, when those young players come in, they’re itching to get out there and make the most of their opportunity.

“We’re expecting no less. They’ll start fast and we’ll just have to go with them for the whole game.”

The trip across the ditch, for Indigenous Round, will be a homecoming for Lemuelu who was born in Auckland and will be reunited with family.

“It’s always pretty special getting the opportunity to go back home. I’ve got a lot of friends and family that are still there. Mum and Dad are still there,” he says.

The 25-year-old, who made his NRL debut with the North Queensland Cowboys in June 2020 and joined the Dolphins for their inaugural season last year, played rugby union in the Auckland Blues system before making the move to Australia to play rugby league.

“I got the opportunity to go to Keebra Park (State High School). They came over to New Zealand to watch one of the other boys I was playing rugby with over there. They saw me playing and asked if I wanted to come over here as well,” Lemuelu says.

“They’re quite a well-renowned school internationally and a lot of kids from my area aspired to go to Keebra as well. All those Youtube videos they used to put out about Benji Marshall … we used to watch those, so I jumped at the opportunity to come over.”

Lemuelu has overcome two serious knee injuries since late last year – the first suffered while playing for Samoa in the Pacific Championships and the second in round one of the 2024 NRL season.

“I finally feel like I’m finding my feet a bit and it’s good to be back out there playing,” he says.

“It’s good to come back into an environment where everyone’s doing their job. All I have to worry about is going out there and doing mine as well. It’s not too hard with the calibre of the boys I’m playing with. It’s a great opportunity for me every week.”

See photos from training here

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