The National Rugby League has confirmed that the Redcliffe Dolphins will run out for the 2023 NRL season, becoming the newest Queensland franchise and the fourth team based north of the Tweed River.
Over the years the Dolphins have produced stars of the game such as Arthur Beetson, Petero Civoniceva, Dane Gagai and Chris Close.
Wayne Bennett has been announced as the coach from 2023, after the master coach declined to renew his contract at South Sydney.
Their home ground, the Moreton Daily Stadium was utilised for NRL games this year, and although the Dolphins will base themselves here, most of their home games will be played at Suncorp Stadium.
The NRL has not expanded since the Gold Coast Titans entered the competition in 2007.
Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter V’Landys said that the expansion was an exciting moment in the history of rugby league.
“The NRL 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.
“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 four teams based in Queensland will further strengthen our game as the number one sport in the state,” he said.
In a statement, the Redcliffe Dolphins have said that they’ve always been NRL ready.
“The Dolphins have been successful in our quest to join the NRL as the 17th club in the competition in 2023.
This is a momentous day in the history of the National Rugby League, Queensland Rugby League and, of course, the Redcliffe Dolphins who will now take on a new identity in the NRL.
A huge thanks to the thousands of backers whose dream never wavered and who carried us on your shoulders all the way to the NRL.
A community club like the Dolphins would be nothing without our family and the NRL had a keen eye on all of you in making its decision for the Dolphins.
To those who are new to the Dolphins family, we say “welcome”!
The Dolphins have been waiting 72 years for this and now we’re here.
Together, we did it.”
The Dolphins moniker will remain, but a formal name has not yet been finalised.