Stone on the Raiders, Trai Fuller

Published 12:57pm 29 May 2024

Stone on the Raiders, Trai Fuller
Words by Kylie Knight

Dolphins hardman Ray Stone is looking forward to a tough game against the Raiders in front of a vocal home crowd at Redcliffe’s Kayo Stadium on Saturday (7.35pm kick off).

“I can speak for all the boys … we love playing here. The community comes in and it’s amazing the atmosphere when it’s packed out,” Stone says.

“This is our home. This is where we love playing. It’s going to be great. Everyone around the community is going to be here. We’re looking forward to it. It’s a special place for us.”

One player who will receive a huge cheer is Trai Fuller, who will start as fullback in place of Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow who is in State of Origin camp.

Stone says he’s not expecting Fuller to change the way he plays in response.

“I reckon he’s just going to be Trai. He’s lifted every game regardless. I think that’s just how he plays. I don’t think he knows any other way. So, to have him in front of his home crowd, it’s definitely going to be special for him,” Stone says.

“I’m looking forward to it.”

Fuller, who has starred in the Hostplus Cup since debuting for the Redcliffe Dolphins in 2018, was the competition’s Player of the Year last season in a year he also made his NRL debut.

The 27-year-old looks dangerous every time he has the ball in his hands and is courageous in defence despite being only 170cm.

“The energy he brings with him, the way he runs the ball back, all that stuff, for the size of him just inspires the team,” Stone says.

“The boys are all keen to have him back. We love having him there. It’s just unfortunate we’ve got two amazing fullbacks that would both be fullbacks at any club.”

Back to basics

The Dolphins will be looking to turn things around after giving away a 16-6 lead over the Warriors to lose their round 12 game 24-20 in Auckland.

Stone says they need to get back to what they know works for them as a team.

“Just sticking to our processes. I think we went away from that a couple times and we got done with our ill-discipline a couple of times as well which did cost us,” he says.

“This week, we’re focusing on our discipline, making sure we’re doing all the right things and making sure we’re playing the way we play which is simple footy but tough footy. We’ve got to be smarter with some things as well and a lot of that is around that discipline.

“Every time I’ve versed the Raiders, they’ve been a pretty tough team, so I’m just expecting that tough brand of footy. It should be a good game. I’m looking forward to it.”

With Tabua-Fidow and Felise Kaufusi unavailable due to Origin duties, Mark Nicholls will move from the bench into the starting front-row position. Anthony Milford will be on the bench in a utility role.

Herbie Farnworth, Euan Aitken and Kodi Nikorima were absent from training today, all with corked calves but are expected to train on Friday and play on Saturday.

Staying at Dolphins

Ray Stone has signed a two-year deal which will keep him at the Dolphins until the end of the 2026 season.

“I’m stoked. I love it up here, love this part of the world at the moment. My family’s settled in really well, so we’re pretty excited that we get to spend another two years here at least,” Stone says.

“I was pretty set on staying here and spoke to Woolfie and he was keen to have me stay. It was pretty mutual that I wanted to stay and get the deal done.

“It was a fresh start coming here, a change to play consistent first-grade footy. Outside of that, the boys are really good here, the community’s great … we’ve just loved every minute up here. It’s been good.”

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