The Dolphins: Pundit says Wayne Bennett will target trio after Harry Grant snub

Michael Holland
Wayne Bennett Dolphins NRL PA

Wayne Bennett will coach the Dolphins in 2023

Melbourne Storm ace Harry Grant has turned his back on a move to the Dolphins forcing Wayne Bennett to take his search for a marquee signing elsewhere.

The Dolphins have work to do to fill their 30-man roster in time for the inaugural 2023 campaign. Super-coach Bennett has attracted some big names already. Melbourne Storm duo Jesse Bromwich and Felise Kaufusi are among the players to sign up.

However the NRL’s latest club need a big marquee signing and a number of top names are in the frame.

Grant is one of them but according to James Hooper, he is going nowhere. Hooper told Fox Sports’ NRL360 that the star hooker has agreed fresh terms that run until the end of 2025.

The Dolphins miss out

The Dolphins had work to do to lure Grant anyway. He was under contract for 2023 but now the new deal will end the rumours once and for all.

“The word around the game today is that Harry has told the Storm that he is staying there,” Hooper revealed. “He is signed for next season anyway so he gets an upgrade on next year. Then he adds two additional years for 2024 and 2025.”

If correct the news will come as a blow to the Dolphins. There are still options though. Hooper believes Bennett will now target Kalyn Ponga, Cameron Munster and Reece Walsh.

Walsh could be the easier of the three to lure. The gun Warriors fullback recently hinted he wants to return to Queensland and would no doubt jump at the move.

Ponga would be much harder to lure. The Newcastle ace is out of contract at the end of the year and has yet to sign a new one. The fullback has said that he is happy at the club and loves working with Andrew Johns.

Ponga a target

His father has also been vocal and said he will stay in the Hunter. Another issue according to the NRL360 panel is the fact Ponga is likely to leave a decision to the last minute.

That is no good to the Dolphins as they need to make moves soon. Bennett has said they are willing to be patient and will wait for the top players. But still an eleventh-hour decision from Ponga is not ideal. The wrong decision on their part would leave the Dolphins in limbo.

Whoever they go for NRL journalist Paul Kent insists they need a big name.

“They have got to land a big fish in the spine,” Kent told NRL360. “They have to land someone in the spine that everyone says I want to play with him.”

One thing is certain, Bennett is also a huge pull. Lots of top players will want to play for him and Ponga could yet be persuaded.