With a nod to the grit and determination of those who played before them, the Redcliffe Dolphins’ 2023 Hostplus Cup squad celebrated the launch of their historic 76th season at Scarborough’s Tempest Restaurant last night.
Supporters, sponsors, local politicians and the club’s hierarchy were there as they were handed their jerseys, which each player neatly folded at the end of the presentation – a sign of enormous respect.
See the photo gallery at the end of this story
The event was hosted by rugby league expert and former journalist Steve Hadden who spoke about the club’s strong foundations, forged by its forefathers.
“They asked, ‘what can we do for Redcliffe, not what Redcliffe can do for us’,” he said.
It was that attitude, grit and determination that has brought the club to where it is today – enjoying its first NRL season.
Hadden said the focus had now turned to “generation next” and the crop of players selected to wear the red and white this year. They represent the future and now have a genuine pathway to the NRL.
“There are few greater honours than being picked to play for the Redcliffe Dolphins,” he said.
New history begins
Dolphins Chairman Bob Jones said the future was ‘going to be a little different’.
In the past, the club has been a development launching pad for some of the biggest names in the game, who have had to leave to further their playing careers.
‘Now, that’s no longer the case. We have a pathway all the way to the top,” he said.
He reflected on the Redcliffe Dolphins’ 2022 season, just falling short of premiership glory to Norths Devils in a home Grand Final, and said the challenge was now before incoming Head Coach Ben Te’o and his squad to perform even better.
Jones encouraged Hastings Deering Colts players to make the most of the opportunity they too have this season to impress and grow as players.
He paid tribute to those who have made the tough decisions to ensure the club’s success.
“To my fellow directors, it embarrasses me to hear the media and others give accolades to Tony and I for what our club has achieved and not a mention of you guys and gals. I know the truth and you guys’ support and stability steer the ship where it needs to go and I thank you,” he said.
Dolphins’ NRL CEO Terry Reader said there was a reason the club won the bid and a reason it was in a position to win on the weekend – it’s the strong foundation and history the club was built on.
Reader said the Hostplus Cup and Hastings Deering Colts squads were important to the NRL side’s future and coaches Ben Te’o and Scott Murray would ensure they were ready.
“To our players … we want to make sure you have a chance and can come on board and hopefully put an NRL jersey on. It’s very exciting,” he said.
Learning from the master
Head Coach Ben Te’o said he has relished working closely with Dolphins NRL Head Coach Wayne Bennett.
“Myself and Scott Murray … we’re the transition coaches and we want to send the messages from the top, right the way down to make sure the same things that are being preached by Wayne and Wolfie will be taken down through the grades,” he said.
Te’o said he was conscious of the club’s history, having met former players last year and hearing how hard they worked.
“They all mentioned they used to run the hills at King St. I decided I’d take the Colts down there (last year) and we ran them too,” he said.
“I think that’s important and it’s in the fabric of the Redcliffe Dolphins – they’re tough and they work hard.”
Captain Dunamis Lui said there had not been too much talk about losing last year’s Grand Final, but it was in the back of his mind.
“Hopefully our boys, we can come together this year and go one step further,” he said.
It all starts on Sunday, with a massive day of rugby league at Redcliffe’s Kayo Stadium starting at 10am. The Hostplus Cup side will be in action against the Brisbane Tigers at 3pm.
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