It’s been a busy few weeks for the Dolphins, signing players for the 2023 NRL season, and today they announce a partnership deal they say is a perfect fit for their “challenger mentality”.
The club has signed a four-year deal with Australian Insurer of the Year Budget Direct, with the business’ logo to feature on both sleeves of the Dolphins’ foundation jersey when the team takes the field for the first time in March.
Budget Direct’s Group Managing Director and CEO Ram Kangatharan says he could not be prouder to be a Dolphins’ founding premier partner.
“We think that this partnership fits us so well because 22 years ago when Budget Direct launched, no one really thought we were going to take it to the big giants of the insurance industry – that’s exactly what we’ve done,” Mr Kangatharan says.
“What we love about the Dolphins is that same challenger mentality, taking on the giants and beating them and winning.”
Dolphins’ Chief Executive Terry Reader says partnering with a company of Budget Direct’s size and stature was a coup for the club and show of faith in what it was building.
“We could not be prouder to do a deal with the insurer of the year for the past five years but more importantly a Brisbane-based company with other contact centres close to our Redcliffe base and also on the Sunshine Coast where we’ll play a home game,” he says.
Mr Reader says it is a great fit and there is synergy between the two brands.
“We do love the fact that they’re a challenger brand, they call themselves that. They do things differently,” he says.
Mr Reader says the strong foundations of the club have enabled it to start strongly on and off the field.
“We’re really happy where we’ve got to and when you bring another national partner into the game of rugby league, behind the Dolphins, things are coming along the way we planned and we’re happy with it,” he says.
The Dolphins have now sold all the assets on their playing kit and will announce more of those partners during the coming weeks.
Head Coach Wayne Bennett says he’s comfortable with how things are looking on the field for the 2023 season, with a number of key signings in recent weeks.
“It’s progressing and I’m pretty happy with what we’re doing,” he says.
Bennett would not be drawn on the turmoil facing the Bulldogs and any opportunities there could be to recruit players from the embattled club.
“Their best players, they’ll want to keep … obviously. So, after that we’ll have to wait and see,” he says.
Bennett says the Dolphins have a “pretty good forward pack and we’ve got another couple of forwards coming in” and focus will need to shift to backline.
He confirmed the club has spoken to Bronco centre and young gun Herbie Farnworth but is waiting to hear what his plans are. The situation is the same with the Storm’s Cameron Munster.
As for Anthony Milford, he’s pleased to see him get a chance with the Knights this week but says it will take time for him to be match-fit after a six-month absence.
“Great to see, (he’s) a wonderful player,” Bennett says.
“He’s still on our radar.”
He ruled out attracting players from other codes, saying it hadn’t worked for other clubs and there was enough rugby league talent in Australia for the expanded competition.
“We’re confident about that. I was confident when they made the 17th team. I think we’ve done a pretty fair job. We’re not finished yet,” he says.
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