Dolphins want Flegler to play well, not talk: Bennett

Joel Gould |

Fiery Dolphins prop Thomas Flegler (c) will make his club NRL debut against the Cowboys on Sunday.
Fiery Dolphins prop Thomas Flegler (c) will make his club NRL debut against the Cowboys on Sunday.

Wayne Bennett is a huge fan of new Dolphin Thomas Flegler but wants the prop to rip and tear with the ball and not worry about trying to be a leader with his words.

The former Brisbane enforcer was at the Broncos as a teenager in Bennett’s final year at the club in 2018.

The Dolphins secured the 24-year-old on a four-year deal from this season and he will start in the front-row against North Queensland at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday.

Flegler has been vocal at training during pre-season – but Bennett is happy for the player to rest his vocal chords.

“We need Tom to play well, not talk well,” Bennett said.

“He doesn’t have to take a leadership role here because we have got some wonderful men who can do that job.

“I just want Tom to play his best footy and get his game right first. That is the number one priority.”

Flegler was one of the Broncos’ best forwards in the finals series last year after a stellar season during which he won selection for Queensland and Australia.

‘I am delighted to have Tom here but he is going to take a little while to settle in,” Bennett said.

“He will just have to start getting used to our players and they will have to get used to him.

“We know he is going to make a difference to us.”

Flegler had issues with suspensions early in his career, with the red mist descending and getting him in trouble with officials.

He fixed that area of his game last year: Flegler still has the fire in his belly but has found the icy composure to go with it.

Bennett has noted the change in the combative prop.

“I had a few (suspensions) here last year. I am not a fan of it,” Bennett said.

“He has grown up and understands what his role is and what is important.”

Mark Nicholls of the Dolphins.
Mark Nicholls will bring up his 150th NRL game when the Dolphins host North Queensland on Sunday. (Mark Evans/AAP PHOTOS)

Sunday’s clash will mark the 150th NRL game for Dolphins prop Mark Nicholls, who Bennett coached at South Sydney and brought to Redcliffe as a matter of priority.

“He is a great story. I have coached a lot of wonderful players and wonderful men and he is in that category,” Bennett said.

“He was one of the first players I (signed) here because I wanted to show the younger players you don’t have to have a lot of brilliance about you to achieve wonderful milestones in your career. It is how you play.”