Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
Photo by Dolphins Media
Following years of bids and speculation, the NRL has today confirmed that its 17th franchise will be the Dolphins.
Currently the “Redcliffe Dolphins”, the club has confirmed via their official NRL bid website that they will not be known by that name in the NRL and that they will not be based in Redcliffe.
This morning the Dolphins bid seemed all but accepted when one of their competitors for the 17th spot in the NRL the Brisbane Jets put out the following statement via their social media.
“The Brisbane Jets have been notified this morning that the bid was unsuccessful for its submission for entry into the NRL for 2023,” read the statement.
“Despite our commitment to exceeding the requirements of the documentation requested, an announcement will be made by the NRL this afternoon to confirm the winning license has been awarded.”
Expansion is on.
The ARLC has today granted a license for a 17th club to join the #NRL Telstra Premiership in 2023.
— NRL (@NRL) October 12, 2021
Less than an hour later it was confirmed that the Dolphins had their bid accepted with ARL Chairman Peter V’Landys, who spearheaded the NRL’s implementation of a second Brisbane based club, putting out a statement via the NRL’s website.
“Today is an exciting moment in the history of our game. The NRL Telstra Premiership will expand to 17 teams in 2023 and on behalf of the Commission I would like to congratulate The Dolphins on being granted the 17th licence,’’ V’landys said.
“I would also like to acknowledge and thank the other bid teams for the work they put into their submissions.
“ All three bids were of the highest calibre and highlight the strength of rugby league in Queensland.
“Rugby League is part of Queensland’s DNA and to have 4 teams based in Queensland will further strengthen our game as the No.1 sport in the State,’’ he said.
“The key to long term success is growth.
BREAKING: Redcliffe Dolphins bid wins NRL’s 17th licence for new-look comp in 2023 🧐🔁🔒
— Fox League (@FOXNRL) October 13, 2021
“By growing the NRL Telstra Premiership we create more fans, encourage more participants and increase commercial investment in rugby league.
“Expansion is also a really important part of our participation strategy.
“ It will be a condition of the licence that the Dolphins spend $2 million every year on participation and growing the women’s game in Southeast Queensland.
“Our focus over the next year is revitalising our participation strategy and The Dolphins will be an important part of that in Queensland.”
The Dolphins will now have a year to hire a coaching staff and acquire talent, with Wayne Bennett the favourite to be their inaugural head coach, as he was for the Dolphins now local rivals the Brisbane Broncos, and Cameron Munster likely to be the club’s marquee signing, with players such as Joseph Manu and Reed Mahoney to possibly follow.
However, the most important thing from here on out will be to build a sustainable fanbase.