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Building a case for NRL bid

Posted: 1pm 22 Sep 2020

Dolphin Stadium’s final grandstand has been officially opened – the final piece in the puzzle for the Dolphins to be the 17thNRL team. The case is strong, as we explain …

The Dolphins joined with Moreton Bay Regional Council Mayor Peter Flannery, Federal Member for Petrie Luke Howarth and State Member for Redcliffe and Attorney General Yvette D'Ath in opening the grandstand today.

The new stand on the northern end of the precinct at Redcliffe means the Dolphins NRL Bid now has a boutique stadium with seating for more than 10,000 patrons and a full capacity of 11,500.

First-class facilities

It also tops off a list of impressive facilities that, not only rivals any club in the National Rugby League, but has the Dolphins’ NRL bid ready to begin operation the moment they gain admittance to the competition.

In addition to the stadium, the Dolphins have already constructed and have in operation a large Leagues Club, the Dolphins Leisure Centre that includes a gymnasium and pool, and the Dolphins’ Central Shopping Centre which along with the leisure centre has been operating for more than five years and has key anchored tenants.

The Dolphins have already constructed office space that is designed specifically to cater for the operation of an NRL team.

All this infrastructure sits on a 11ha site, owned by the Dolphins, and situated just 25 minutes from the Brisbane Airport and just over a half-hour drive from the city’s CBD.

Ready to roll

Dolphins’ chairman Bob Jones says the completion of the seating bowl at the stadium means the club’s bid is ‘NRL ready’.

“We would like to thank both the Moreton Bay Regional Council and the Federal Government for their foresight and assistance in the building and completion of this wonderful stadium,” Mr Jones says.

“This stadium will be a wonderful acquisition for the local community and will be a beacon for our traditional rugby league grassroots base and opportunities to host other major events for the region.

“With this in place, the Dolphins NRL Bid now has all the ingredients to provide a strong, community-based team that would represent as a true Brisbane club in the NRL.”

“We have welcomed NRL Chairman Peter V’landys’ comments that the NRL would be enhanced by a second Brisbane team in the NRL, and we firmly believe no other bid can match the levels of community engagement, infrastructure base and financial stability that the Dolphins NRL Bid has in place.”

Strong support

The stadium was constructed using $500,000 from the Community Sport Infrastructure Grant Program (Federal Government) for the construction of female facilities, $3 million from the Community Development Grants Program (Federal Government) and $2.5 million from the Moreton Bay Regional Council.

Federal Member for Petrie Luke Howarth says the completion of the stadium will benefit the community by providing assistance for a range of sports in the area.

“Post coronavirus, I am really excited for the opportunities this latest infrastructure creates for our region,” Mr Howarth says.

“The club recognises this funding gives them greater pulling power to attract different sports and activities to the stadium.

“The facilities are world class and I can’t wait to sit up in the grandstands and cheer on our athletes.”

“We’re very supportive of the Dolphins’ bid to get into the NRL, obviously Brisbane needs a second team – there’s plenty in Sydney and the people of Moreton Bay and north Brisbane certainly would support that bid as well.”

Mayor Peter Flannery said Council’s $2.5 million contribution to the project was an investment in the local economy, events, and hopefully an NRL licence.

“Now the stadium upgrades are complete, we’ve set the Dolphins up right in front of the sticks to make this conversion into an NRL licence,” Mayor Flannery says.

“The Dolphins run rings around every other contender in terms of their business prowess and financial position, and with more than 5200 locals playing rugby league the growth potential here is huge. Just ask Petero Civoniceva."

“We also have the ability to host women’s games, with the women’s facilities built into the new grandstand behind us as well.”

State Member for Redcliffe Yvette D’Ath says the Dolphins have a proud history and are ready to take the next step.

“For many decades, it’s the Dolphins that have been providing the talent for other NRL teams. It’s about time that talent stayed here and are part of a Dolphins team going forward,” Ms D’Ath says.

Next steps?

Bob Jones says finishing stage three of the stadium and amassing $100 million in assets guarantees the club is NRL-ready.

“We’re ready to go when and if needed. If something happens and the NRL needs us, we’re ready to go,” he says.

“We haven’t had any formal talks yet with the NRL – (we’ve had some with) former employees over the years – but Peter Peter V'landys certainly is aware that the Dolphins are ready and we’ll be meeting in the next little while. I’m not sure what that will be, COVID has slowed those things up a bit. They’re not fully aware of what we’re capable of, but they will be soon.”

When would he like the club to play their first game in the NRL?

“2021, we’re ready. I’d love to play the Broncos at Suncorp – that would be ideal. Suncorp will be our home ground, we’ll be a second Brisbane team and that’s our aim. We’ll play the bulk of our games out of Suncorp Stadium, we might play some lower games here and maybe even the Sunshine Coast.”

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