Broncos embrace "arch-rival" in Dolphins

Brisbane NRL fans are excited for the new rivalry between the Broncos and Dolphins starting in 2023.
Brisbane NRL fans are excited for the new rivalry between the Broncos and Dolphins starting in 2023.

Ben Ikin has declared Brisbane will be up for the fight with the Dolphins, adamant their admission to the NRL can lift the Broncos on and off the field.

Less than two weeks after their NRL existence was confirmed, Ikin on Monday labelled the Dolphins as Brisbane's arch-rivals.

It comes with the Redcliffe-based Dolphins set to play their seven biggest games per year out of the Broncos' home at Suncorp Stadium.

The Dolphins first chance for a raid on the Broncos will also come next week, with 10 Broncos players off contract at the end of 2022 and effectively free agents from November 1.

"To think that Wayne Bennett is coming back to Brisbane and will coach the Broncos arch-rivals is just tribalism on steroids," Ikin told SEN.

"It will energise the rugby league community in Brisbane ... And we have a local rival which is like an elbow in the ribs.

"If we were ever thinking we had a chance to be complacent - which we weren't - then that is no longer.

"Because the Dolphins will be in our backyard and led by one of the greatest coaches in Australian sport.

"We are going to have to be better than them and have a really local example of who we need to beat whenever we turn up to work."

Pat Carrigan represents the biggest-name Bronco free to approach from next week, with Jake Turpin, Keenan Palasia and Jamayne Isaako others on the list.

Meanwhile Ikin claimed the Dolphins' entry could increase the Broncos' fan base, pointing to evidence in Sydney when GWS entered the AFL in 2012.

"When GWS were brought into Sydney, the Swans had a period where they went into a membership spike.

"Because it was effectively a call to action for all the Swans fans who sat on the fringe, that there was someone else coming into town.

"They clearly felt they needed to show their loyalty in some way.

"The Broncos' commercial base is very strong, it has been for quite some time. We don't expect that to diminish."

Australian Associated Press