Dolphins fly Suncorp flag, eye NRL market

Dolphins coach Wayne Bennett holds the heritage jersey the newest NRL club will wear in 2023.
Dolphins coach Wayne Bennett holds the heritage jersey the newest NRL club will wear in 2023.

Dolphins boss Terry Reader says players' recent taste test of the region and lure of making history under Wayne Bennett has the 17th NRL club poised to strike when the market opens on Monday.

The Redcliffe-based club took their colours to Suncorp Stadium for the first time on Wednesday, the venue they will share with the Brisbane Broncos in a derby the NRL hopes will stoke new interest in Queensland rugby league.

Clubs are bracing for raids on their off-contract talent from November 1, with young Bronco Patrick Carrigan this week joining superstar Queensland Maroons trio Cameron Munster, Tino Fa'asuamaleaui and Kalyn Ponga on the Dolphins' hit list.

Announcing a four-year sponsorship deal with Adventure Kings, Reader said the club was well-placed to compete from the outset.

"The one thing about the COVID-19 interruption is that a lot of players were here for three months with their families this season," he said.

"Where we're based at Redcliffe ... there's a lot to offer and I hope they'll find that attractive as we look to build the roster.

"Being in that first team that runs out on that field in March 2023, etched in history as part of that first NRL Dolphins team, has a fair bit of appeal and let's not forget to mention they'll be coached by one of the best coaches to ever coach."

The Dolphins have controversially dropped Redcliffe from their name, but that didn't stop the club launching a Heritage Round jumper they will wear in the relevant round in 2023 honouring the club founded in 1947.

Former Broncos coach Bennett, who won six titles at Red Hill, helped hang the jersey in the Suncorp Stadium home change room on Wednesday.

"It's based on the iconic 80s jersey of the Redcliffe Dolphins, honouring our history and we're really proud of that," Reader said.

He said the photo opportunity should generate excitement, not worry, for the Broncos and their fans.

"We'll have the derby and there will be some good banter that comes out of today ... it only makes rugby league stronger and bigger," he said.

Australian Associated Press