It’s a moment more than 70 years in the making and the Dolphins are ready to make their case for an NRL licence as the ARL begins its process to select the 17th team.
The man driving the Dolphins’ NRL bid, Terry Reader, confirmed the NRL has been in contact about the process but the club is yet to receive the bid criteria documentation.
“Everything is in line with what the NRL has previously stated and that a decision will be made in July,” Mr Reader told Moreton Daily this afternoon.
His comments follow reports by some media today that the ARL Commission has started the bid process with the three clubs vying for a licence.
A new club is tipped to join the competition in 2023 and those looking for inclusion are the Dolphins, Easts-backed Firehawks and Ipswich-backed Brisbane Jets.
Mr Reader says the Dolphins are in a position to hit the ground running the moment they are given the green light, with all the necessary infrastructure in place, and a from a solid financial position to ensure it will be a stable and viable NRL club.
“The club is very well set up and has all of the infrastructure to go tomorrow,” he says.
He says the Dolphins are "NRL-ready" and would not be faced with high start-up costs that could face other clubs without the necessary infrastructure. It’s already there.
If the club gets the green light, the focus would immediately be on recruiting staff and building a competitive roster of players.
The Dolphins are the Queensland Cup's most successful club, appearing in 12 Grand Finals and winning six Premierships since 1996.
The Dolphins have a 74-year history in grassroots rugby league and are based within a local junior catchment in the north of Brisbane through Moreton Bay and linking to the Sunshine Coast.
The region the club represents has:
If successful, the Dolphins plan to partner with two or three Queensland Cup clubs under the Dolphins affiliate/feeder team banner which would enable the Dolphins to support to the QRL competitions. The Dolphins want to ensure they have a footprint stretching across South East Queensland region and into other parts of Queensland.
“Our catchment area is the fastest growing area in Queensland, if not Australia. We will appeal to Brisbane, Moreton Bay Region and the Sunshine Coast areas – and beyond,” Mr Reader says.
“The commission is very big on participation and growing the game. The Dolphins have a 70-year history of growing the game.”
The Dolphins NRL Bid already owns and has the key elements in place to start an NRL franchise immediately;
These elements already combine to offer a better comparative set-up than many NRL clubs.
Moreton Bay Region Mayor Peter Flannery says the club and the region are ready.
“The smart money is backing Moreton Bay Region for the next NRL licence because we’ll have a supporter base from Bowen Hills to Bundaberg,” Mayor Flannery says.
“There’s already 40,000 Dolphins members, more than 5,500 registered local players, and 17 junior clubs here - we are truly rugby league heartland, just ask Petero Civoniceva.
“Our entire region is united behind this bid with footy fans, grassroots clubs, big business, government and politicians of all colours working together to ensure it succeeds.”
Moreton Bay Region Industry and Tourism CEO Shane Newcombe says the club and the region are in the box seat.
“The club has long been the breeding ground for some of the game’s brightest stars and it has the backing of the community to take this logical next step,” he says.
“We are proud supporters of the club and have proved this by helping secure its long-term future by our three-year sponsorship of Moreton Daily Stadium.”
Moreton Daily is a new, free, independent and trusted community news website and oversees the publication of the area’s community newspaper, Dolphins News.
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At the Moreton Bay Region Leaders’ Forum today, Defence Minister Peter Dutton, Deputy Premier Steven Miles and Mayor Peter Flannery signed a declaration of support for the Dolphins’ NRL licence bid alongside every politician, representing the region, from all three levels of government.…