Dolphins miss out as NRL targets re-sign

Pat Carrigan has signed a new Brisbane NRL deal, rejecting interest from the Dolphins.
Pat Carrigan has signed a new Brisbane NRL deal, rejecting interest from the Dolphins.

Just days after being knocked back by Tino Fa'asuamaleaui, NRL expansion club the Dolphins have missed out on two more targets in Christian Welch and Pat Carrigan.

Melbourne forward Welch had long been viewed as ideal candidate to join the Dolphins ahead of their inaugural campaign in 2023.

Instead, the Queensland State of Origin front-rower has inked a three-year extenstion with the Storm, making it highly likely he could end his career as a one-club man.

Welch has made 117 appearances for the Storm since debuting in 2015, playing in three grand finals and winning the 2020 premiership.

"He was off contract at the end of 2022 and was a priority re-signing for us," Storm football manager Frank Ponissi said.

"Although his career has had some setbacks, he has persevered and continued to grow and mature as a player on the field and as a leader of our club both on and off the field."

Earlier on Thursday, Brisbane announced Carrigan had also chosen to stay at Red Hill despite interest from the Dolphins.

After Gold Coast star Fa'asuamaleaui signed a four-year extension at the Titans, Carrigan has also turned away from Wayne Bennett's advances to commit to the Broncos until the end of the 2024 season.

The re-signings are the latest setbacks for the Dolphins' recruiting since being awarded the NRL's 17th licence in October despite the lure of veteran coach Bennett.

North Queensland outside back Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow was another target who instead committed to the Cowboys until the end of 2023 in October.

It means unheralded hooker Harrison Graham is the lone signing for the Dolphins since their NRL expansion bid victory.

Bennett still has time to land some big recruitment blows ahead of the club's inaugural season in 2023 with Storm duo Cameron Munster and Brandon Smith as well as Newcastle star Kalyn Ponga among the potential options.

Australian Associated Press