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Joel Gould

Determined Dolphins 'still in mix' for finals football

The Dolphins' fighting performance against Penrith has given coach Wayne Bennett renewed hope. (Jono Searle/AAP PHOTOS) (AAP)

Dolphins coach Wayne Bennett has not given up hope of finals football, despite his side being four points outside the NRL's top eight.

The Dolphins were gallant in their 24-14 loss to competition leaders Penrith on Sunday, converting an early 12-0 deficit into a 14-12 lead with 12 minutes to go at Redcliffe before conceding two late tries.

The Queensland newcomers are in 13th position, four points behind eighth-placed South Sydney with seven rounds of the competition to go.

Their finals mission is made harder thanks to a for and against of minus 91.

The way the competition is shaping, the cut-off for the top eight is likely to be 32 or 34 points, leaving the Dolphins little margin for error.

They will get two points for the bye in round 21 and then play Canterbury in Bundaberg and Newcastle in Perth before away clashes with the Sydney Roosters and Wests Tigers in the next month.

"We're still in the mix," Bennett said.

"We've just played the number one team in the comp, so we've got teams below that now to play.

"A couple of them are playing pretty well, but we're playing pretty well too at the moment.

"We've got six games to go. We've got to be good for the next six games and we'll see what happens then - whether it's good, bad or indifferent - but I want us to keep playing at a consistent level and that'll give us great confidence for the future.

"We're building a club here. We're not looking for a quick fix. It's as simple as that."

After heavy defeats by the Warriors, Manly and Parramatta, the Dolphins lost narrowly to Brisbane and beat Gold Coast 23-21 before the weekend's loss to Penrith.

Bennett saw positive signs in his side's fightback against the Panthers.

"They wouldn't give up," he said.

"They were entitled to give up there, playing the team they were playing and the situation they found themselves in but they didn't do that.

"That's pretty much the makeup of this team.

"We had a bad month there two weeks ago ... but we've passed that now and we've moved on."

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