Dolphins becomes NRL's 17th team in 2023

Dolphins granted licence to become NRL’s 17th team in 2023

Alicia Newton | | 13th October 2021

The Dolphins will become the 17th NRL team to enter the Telstra Premiership from 2023 after being granted a licence in an historic announcement made by the ARL Commission on Wednesday.

The NRL Telstra Premiership will expand to a 26-round competition as part of the Dolphins’ entry with every team continuing to play 24 games in the regular season.

The total number of regular season games will increase from 192 to 204 with teams receiving two byes.

“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,’’ ARLC chairman Peter 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.”

Mr V’landys said expanding the game in Queensland was vital to the long-term growth of the sport.

“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. 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.”


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The Bye should be based on premiership results

Premiers - Round 26 - Or the last round of the normal competition
Runner up - Round 25
etc etc

This will nullify the need to rest players and also adds further benefit to the competition winners i.e. a greater incentive !

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I do not understand the rationale for adding another team at this stage. It

  • does not add another game each week, so adds nothing to the game day revenue or TV value
  • does not add a new timezone for the game
  • dilutes the talent pool further, at a time when many are critical of the differences between the top teams and the rest
  • dilutes the Brisbane market. Broncos fans are not going to magically switch to the new franchise en masse, and even if they do it will not increase the market, just change the share
  • we have been there done that with a second Brisbane team, which failed

I think it is a bad decision.

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Worst kept secret, Wayne Bennett has signed a 3 year deal, starting 2023.

so by the time his contract is up he’ll be 75 yrs of age ?
Amazing :open_mouth:

Hey, are they the Brisbane Dolphins, Redcliffe Dolphins, Sunshine Coast Dolphins, Papua Dolphins, Taronga Zoo Dolphins ???

Don’t you think it odd that our newest franchise doesn’t have a geographical identity? Like a fish outta water :droplet: eh!

Just my 2 bobs mrwalker


The ARL commission are on something I’m sure. RL is based on tribality & they think they can attract a greater following by a cute name (already associated with Redcliffe) & not attach it to a geographical area. Reminds me of when Gould was going to make us the greatest club in world sport by removing reference to Penrith - he wanted us just to be the Panthers. Hey Gus PENRITH PANTHERS just won the comp!
For me the new team, if there has to be one in SE QLD, should be located in Sunshine Coast, not a suburb of Brisbane, playing out of Suncorp - that already failed.

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the concept is to have a team in WA, so that a game played there becomes a nighttime timeslot on East Coast. Sport in USA gets a big boost from playing games on East Coast, Central & West Coast giving greater scope for broadcasting.
In the NRL, the afternoon games are a wood-duck for TV rights. On Sat, they could have games at 5pm, 7pm & 9pm by having a 7pm kick-off in Perth every other week…


I’d like to see them retain the Redcliffe name, possibly with a link to another area, ie Redcliffe-North Brisbane, Redcliffe-Moreton Bay, Redcliffe-Sunshine Coast, etc.

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I don’t have any proof to validate this, but I think there has been a concerted effort to remove the town and city names from teams.

I’m not sure what the motive is… but I feel the NRL are looking to have the teams be ‘franchises’ like the NFL and have the ability to move them if they feel a region is too oversaturated or if a investor comes along that will financially contribute in exchange for relocation.

It’s obvious that the NRL feels the Sydney market is oversaturated as far as representation and rather than expand with more team it may look into relocating financially struggling teams.

I’m not saying I agree with it, or this is actually the case… but I get a sense that is what is happening.

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I would be in favour of “Sunshine Coast Dolphins”. I think it would go some way to getting that area involved with the team, and feel ‘attached’ to it.

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So the talk of Fiji and NZ negate this because they are in front time wise not behind, i.e. they would have to be the Sat arvo games, but we still couldn’t kick off at 9pm here, so unless it’s WA that theory is negligible right??

Yes only works for teams west of AEST! I think that the next change should be the team from down Mutley’s way transfer to Perth.


You may well be right Steve. Although someone needs to have a word with Cronk. He cannot say the name of a team without using the full name every single time - it’s like the team from Townsville for example has a one word name “Northqueenslandcowboys” etc :slight_smile:
I accept what you say about US sports, and maybe I am wrong, but I really think our game is tribal & most fans are for life. I know of people who still follow only Newtown or North Sydney & take little interest in the game nowadays. If they go down that path, there is likely no going back if they get it wrong


Don’t inflict that on the good people of Perth

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Agreed, Mr Walker. For many supporters, the game is tribal and tribalism will persist. For me, as with many, the Penrith Panthers play at Penrith Park - end of story. As for franchises and private ownership, look at English soccer, where a murderous Saudi sheikh, or criminal Russian oligarch, can buy a football team and all that seems to count is the money. Great way to wash dirty money, too. That is far removed from watching Penrith play a home game on a Sunday arvo, and I hope that it stays that way.


If they are not named Redcliff then the league has a very short memory of what makes local derbies and tribalism.

Yes there was a former policy of removing location names, remember Sydney Bulldogs and Northern Eagles? All bar the rooster have changed back (your more likely to have a CB fan shout out “go the berries” than go Sydney!

I compare to the soulless big bash, with two non-decriptive Sydney teams. We cheer “Penrith, Penrith” regardless of the word is on our jersey.

Our biggest rivalry is Penrith vs Parramatta. It’s not just on the field either.

Redcliff dolphins should be proud of their area and history, gives them bragging rights over Brisbane. Local identity, tribalism, everything the NRL desires.

And that’s not to say you still won’t get people from Ipswich or Eagle Farm supporting them, 50% or more of Brisbane League fans hate the Broncos (my sister one of them).


A single training session hasn’t been held with and they already got the community around them offside.

I’m just thinking, is Dolphins CEO Tony Murphy just stubborn, or an idiot?