The Tivoli was packed with Dolphins NRL supporters, sponsors, partners and those with deep connections to the club for their season launch tonight. They were there as Jesse Bromwich was named the Dolphins’ inaugural captain.
Chairman Bob Jones said he was nervous, not because of the crowd gathered, but because the “first game is coming”.
“The great Tosser Turner said to me years ago, ‘if you’re not nervous, give it away,” Jones recalled
The first Dolphins NRL team will line up against the Capras tomorrow night for a preseason trial game – the first of three before round one against the Roosters at Suncorp Stadium on March 5.
“As a club, we’ve been humbled by the magnificent support of everyone involved, especially our sponsors, fans, players, staff and even the media have been pretty kind to us,” Jones said.
“From day one, we’ve had a mantra of getting the best people available and we’ve done that – sponsors, players, staff and coaches.
“Having the opportunity to see the greatest coach our game has seen at close range has been awesome. There’s numerous reasons why he’s the best and lasted so long.”
Jones said he had promised Wayne Bennett his own carparking space at the club after the team’s first win. Bennett later challenged this and said he thought he’d get the chairman’s carpark – if even only for one day.
Dolphins NRL CEO Terry Reader reflected on the history of the club and the 75-year journey that had brought it to this point.
“This is probably a defining moment of rugby league in our long, proud history,” he said.
“We’re not just launching a season tonight, we’re launching a club.
“We are the first team to ascend from the BRL, QRL into the NRL, into the top flight. It means we’re Brisbane’s team, we’re Queensland’s team. We represent all those clubs that went before us when the BRL was turned into a second-tier competition. Finally one from Queensland has come out of it and will join the New South Wales rugby league clubs or the other franchises that were born for cities.
“A New history really does start, now. I can promise you, we have a football team that will be competitive and one that you can be proud of. Look out the Dolphins are here. Phins up everybody.”
The Super Coach stole the show, holding the audience’s attention as he does his squad during training.
“There is a great buzz about the season and the Dolphins,” he said.
“I’ve spent a lifetime of coaching, trying to make you proud of the teams that I coach. I love the game, I love its people. I think I’ve delivered that on many, many occasions and I don’t see any reason why we won’t do that in the future.
“It’s important to me. It’s important how we present ourselves because we are representatives of you.
“To the players, I’m not going to make any predictions. I’m not that stupid. They’ve trained extremely well. This is my 43rd preseason (8 as a young coach and 36 in the NRL) … I know a bit about it and what I do know is if you don’t get it right, you won’t get the season right.”
Bennett said the squad of 32 went away for three days recently – arriving as individuals and leaving as a team who had made commitments to each other.
“We can’t be successful if we don’t have that,” he said.
“We’re on a journey of being the best we can and I can’t ask any more than that.
“We won’t all have perfect Sundays, but I remember Paul Morgan saying to me all those years ago … ‘I don’t care whether we win or lose, but I don’t want those young kids with their parents to watch a team that won’t try.
“I promise you as long as I coach the Dolphins they won’t either.”
Bennett then went on to announce Jesse Bromwich has the inaugural captain, saying he liked his calm approach and knew after the initial Zoom meeting with him that he had found his captain.
“He doesn’t mouth off, he’s not a cheap talker, he leads from the front. All the great captains that I’ve coached, that’s been one of their great qualities … that ability to lead from the front,” he explained.
“I’ve seen him do that.”
“Jesse was never in any doubt of being the captain.”
Bromwich told the crowd and his teammates it was an honour to be their skipper.
“I obviously don’t take this lightly. To be the first captain of this NRL side, it’s extremely humbling and very special to myself and my family. I’ve got a really good group here – it’s a really humble group, hardworking type of group. I’m very lucky to lead these guys out this year.”
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