The Redcliffe Dolphins will reportedly join the NRL in 2023 after clinching the league’s 17th licence, staving off bids from the Brisbane Firehawks and Brisbane Jets.
As revealed by The Courier-Mail, the ARLC is set to formally unveil the $74 million powerhouse as the preferred candidate this week, and will become Brisbane’s second NRL team for the 2023 premiership.
Last week, ARL Commission chair Peter V’landys informed the NRL’s 16 existing clubs of the decision to introduce a 17th team into the competition following a $53 million surplus for the league.
According to the News Corp report, veteran coach Wayne Bennett is the most likely candidate to become the Dolphins’ foundation coach.
The Dolphins will be the NRL’s first expansion team since the Gold Coast Titans were introduced to the league in 2007.
“The Dolphins have a detailed 100-day plan ready to initiate as soon as we are awarded an NRL licence to ensure we can be highly competitive from what could be our very first season in 2023.” Dolphins bid chief Terry Reader told News Corp last week.
“The Dolphins are NRL ready and can start tomorrow.”
The Dolphins will effectively have 12 months to put together a 30-player senior squad and coaching staff before pre-season gets underway in November 2022.
“Absolutely there is room for a second Brisbane team,” Storm chairman Matt Tripp told News Corp last week
“If I wasn’t chairman of the Melbourne Storm and I was Matt Tripp the rugby league fan and someone said to me should there be a second club in Brisbane, I would say yes, 100 per cent.
“Of course those comments might be to the short-term detriment of the Storm but taking a long-term view, I don’t think it will be detrimental at all.
“Expansion will be great for the game. While the talent pool will be thin for a period, as long as the game continues to evolve and improve and stay an elite sport in this country, it will then warrant better broadcast deals, better sponsorship, all the things that can drive revenue and bring people to the game.
The ARLC’s decision will be formally announced in the coming days.
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