‘We’re not sure’: Sad Wayne Bennett photo says it all amid Dolphins injury disaster against Wests Tigers

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Wayne Bennett’s Dolphins have done it again, retaining their place on top of the NRL ladder despite suffering a devastating injury toll in the side’s 26-16 win over the Wests Tigers on Saturday night.

The 74-year-old supercoach’s side claimed a third straight win in a brave performance at Suncorp Stadium.

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But the match may have come with a huge cost after big-name stars Felise Kaufusi, Herbie Farnworth and Thomas Flegler all suffered injuries in the clash.

Kaufusi left the ground with a hamstring strain after he put Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow away for a try before Flegler ended the game with ice on his shoulder, while Farnworth was in major distress on the field.

Bennett said both Flegler and Farnworth appeared to suffer AC joint injuries.

Caught on camera before going into the press conference, Bennett cut a sad figure, sitting by himself as he gathered his thoughts.

When speaking to the media, Bennett was obviously downcast over the mounting injury toll.

Asked about the “unbelievably brave victory”, Bennett said: “I’ll agree with that.”

Bennett, who is known for his no-nonsense approach to media, didn’t give too much away when asked about the injuries either.

“We’re not sure ourselves (about the injuries), we know what the injuries are, we’re not sure of the severity of them just yet,” he said.

As for Kaufusi, Bennett did joke that the second rower “has never run that fast before”.

Asked about his side’s performance, Bennett said: “I’m happy with their effort, yeah.”

Bennett added that the injures increased his concern over “whether we have the replacements that can fill their places and do the job they’ve been doing”.

As for whether any of them may be back next week, Bennett admitted he believed only Flegler may line up against the Broncos.

In the club’s first season, the side lacked superstar power and had a severe lack of depth that left the Dolphins more and more exposed as the season went on.

After setting the season alight in the opening rounds, the Dolphins dropped off late, finishing 13th on the ladder in their debut season.

Having signed the likes of Farnworth, Flegler and Jake Averillo in the off-season, the Dolphins added a bit more firepower but also still have a large chunk of the core from last season.

Speaking after the game on Fox League, Mal Meninga said he didn’t expect them to be as good as they have been in 2024.

“I thought they bought really well but they’ve shown some great resilience,” Meninga said.

“Obviously they’re a Wayne Bennett-coached side, so their error rates are down, they play the simple things in the game, particularly early in the season.

“Defensively I thought they were pretty good tonight as well.

“Let’s hope that some of those injuries they got tonight are not season threatening, hopefully they’re just a few weeks or back next week. With their best team, they’re going to be very hard to beat.”

Cooper Cronk said the issues was with the big-name injuries, particularly with next Friday night’s Battle of Brisbane clash with the Broncos.

“They need Farnworth, they need Flegler and they need Kaufusi,” Cronk said.

“They need their best players on the field all year for them to continue with this form because last year, we saw they were consistent for the first half to three-quarters of the season, but fell away because their best players got injured and were off the field.”

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