The Dolphins have secured the 17th NRL licence, but the hard work starts now as they look to secure a coach and finalise their logo and colours.
During a press conference this afternoon, Dolphins’ Chairman Bob Jones revealed the club is in talks with super coach Wayne Bennett and is keen to lock in a coach to build a roster that will make it competitive from day one.
“If you want to be the best in the land, you try to hire the best people in the land … I would think that if Wayne’s not the best in the land, he’s right up there,” Mr Jones said.
“We’ve reached out to Wayne and those discussions are progressing nicely and hopefully in the next little while we’ll know what’s happening. Talks are progressing but no, he hasn’t signed yet.”
The club cannot approach any players until November 1, so it’s hoped the coach will be locked in at some stage in the next couple of weeks and will go after the players he wants.
“Today’s a very momentous day in the Dolphins’ story, certainly right up there with our greatest days and probably may turn out to be our greatest day along with when we were formed in 1947, our entry into the BRL in 1960, our first-ever premiership with Arthur Beetson, John Treeby, Henry Holloway and the likes in 1965 and our next premiership 30 years later in 1994,” Mr Jones said.
“We’re super excited and very thankful for all the work that our forebears have done in making the Dolphins what they are. We intend to do our very best and we do have lofty ambitions and we won’t rest until those ambitions are met.”
Dolphins NRL Bid Director Terry Reader said contrary to media reports this week, the Dolphins were not informed they had been successful until shortly after 9am today.
“We were probably caught a bit off-guard because we thought the commission was meeting later in the week, so it was a wonderful surprise for us all this morning and something we had all been working towards,” Mr Reader said
“I feel privileged that Bob Jones and (CEO) Tony Murphy and the Dolphins trusted me to lead this for them and I was really blown away by what this club represents. This club operates rugby league at the highest level. That’s why it was started in 1947.
“Today it’s happened and that’s probably the most exciting thing because of all those people who came before.”
Mr Murphy said bidding for the licence wasn’t a last-minute decision. It was years in the making and the club had been building a diverse asset base in readiness. It grabbed the opportunity when it presented itself.
“It’s been in our strategic plan, it’s been our number one thing to want to play in the strongest competition,” he said.
“I’m enormously happy. It’s one of those moments where you close the door (and reflect). It’s one of those things you’re dreaming about, and you’ve got to take it in, and I don’t think it’s hit us yet but obviously over the next few weeks we’ll take in the importance of being the 17th licence.
“It’s been an effort by our board and our management.”
When asked who he’d love to sign for the foundation team, Mr Jones said anyone in the test team.
“If you can get the rest of the test team, that would be wonderful,” he said laughing.
“I really don’t know who’s available. There’s lots of wonderful players in the competition. We really haven’t thought that far ahead, I certainly haven’t.
“We want to be standing here or somewhere holding the World Championship at some stage. We wouldn’t think that would happen immediately but that’s where we want to be – right at the top of the tree and be a sustainable, successful club for many, many years.
“You need marquee players. Any team in the competition’s got to have quality players and we’ll find some quality players.”
When asked about existing Dolphins Intrust Super Cup players he said: “There’s some that would make a 30-man squad but realistically you need to get some marquee players and over time we plan to develop lots of our own”.
So, how will the trio celebrate the bid win?
“I’ll have a nice cappuccino, the boys might have a beer … maybe some Panadol for some relief,” Mr Jones says.
“Funnily enough Wednesday is not usually a busy day, but that carpark out there today … there’s probably three times more cars in it than usual. I know lots of our members have been whooping it up since early this morning. It’s been great.”
“It’s been a whirlwind few hours for us,” Mr Reader said.
He is looking forward to bringing the club’s 100-day NRL plan to life and said they planned to reveal the new brand and colours next week.
During this morning’s NRL press conference CEO Andrew Abdo said the team would simply be called The Dolphins, with no geographical reference.
But it hasn’t stopped discussion about the name. When asked about it this afternoon, Dolphins Chairman Bob Jones said: “We’ll certainly be the Dolphins, we’ll always be the Dolphins. What we put before it or after it is open for discussion, it hasn’t been decided yet. The Dolphins, we’re really committed to it.”
Moreton Bay Regional Council Mayor Peter Flannery spoke at another press conference this afternoon, saying his hope was that the team would be called the Moreton Bay Dolphins.
“We would love them to be called the Moreton Bay Dolphins, where else would you find Dolphins but in Moreton Bay and in the Moreton Bay Region. We’re the third largest local government area in Australia, we have 500,000 people living in our region so we would love them to be the Moreton Bay Dolphins,” Mayor Flannery said.
“We haven’t heard that as yet. All our discussions with them have been that the name will be up for grabs as soon as the announcement’s made. They used the Dolphins as their bid wording, we were happy to go with that and now we’ll have those discussions and hopefully we can convince them that Moreton Bay Dolphins is the way to go.”
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