You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content

The Dolphins will enter the Telstra Premiership in 2023 after becoming the 17th NRL franchise and the first expansion team since the Titans in 2007.

The Redcliffe-based club has a proud history and will be the first to make the transition from the Brisbane and Queensland competitions to the NRL. 

NRL.com explains all you need to know about the NRL's second Brisbane team.

Will the Dolphins retain Redcliffe in their name?

The team will be known simply as the Dolphins. 

Re-branding the team as the Sun State Dolphins or the Brisbane Dolphins had been discussed but officials believe that having no geographical link in their name will broaden the appeal of the club to fans.

"The dolphin is one of the most powerful emblems in the country," Dolphins bid director Terry Reader said. "You show me someone who doesn't love a dolphin.

"We have the biggest migration of people from interstate than any other state, and a lot of people who come here look for a team so what better to get behind than a new one."

Dolphins announced as 17th NRL team

NRL CEO Andrew Abdo said the population of Moreton Bay and the Sunshine Coast was predicted to surpass 1.1 million by 2031 and the Dolphins were also looking to attract fans further afield.

"For us it makes sense for this to be the Dolphins because we are talking here about not just the greater Brisbane area but north of Brisbane, Moreton Bay and the Sunshine Coast," Abdo said.

"They are also talking about Central Queensland Capras and other broader affiliations, and there is also plans in the works to discuss what the female league pathway looks like in that region."

Who are the Dolphins?

The Redcliffe Dolphins were founded in 1947 and played in the Brisbane Rugby League from 1960 before the establishment of the Queensland Cup in 1996. They are the most successful Queensland Cup club, winning six premierships and appearing in 11 grand finals.

Among those to have played for the club are Arthur Beetson, Petero Civoniceva, Daly Cherry-Evans, Wally Fullerton-Smith, Dick "Tosser" Turner, Bryan Niebling, Greg Conescu, Dave Brown and Kevin Yow Yeh.

Where will the Dolphins play and train?

The Dolphins plan to play most of their games at Suncorp Stadium to maximise full exposure in their inaugural season, while Moreton Daily Stadium and Sunshine Coast Stadium are being considered as alternate venues.

Moreton Daily Stadium is located in Redcliffe, where the team will train, and is just 25 minutes from Brisbane Airport and a bit further from the city's CBD.

The venue, which has a capacity of 11,500, recently underwent a $6.5 million upgrade of the northern grandstand and is attached to Redcliffe Leagues club, which has over 40,000 members. 

"We plan to play premiership matches here, we plan to play up to four per year," Dolphins Group CEO Tony Murphy said. "We have got a masterplan to build another grandstand.

"We would probably do seven or so blockbusters at Suncorp Stadium and also share [games] with Sunshine Coast Stadium as well."

Years in the planning for Dolphins NRL bid

What will be the Dolphins' colours and logo?

The Dolphins will maintain Redcliffe's traditional colours of red and white, but there is likely to be an update for the club's entry to the NRL.

"We may have an additional bit of colour added there, a couple of different colours," Jones said. "We will always be the Dolphins."

The club intends to unveil the colours and a new logo next week for the NRL team.

Redcliffe will continue playing in the Queensland Cup, with the team to be a feeder side for the Warriors next season before the Dolphins join the NRL in 2023. 

"There's probably some players there who would make the 30-man squad but realistically we need to get some marquee players and over time we plan to develop lots of our own," Jones said.

'The whole Test team': Dolphins ready for recruitment drive

Who will be the coach?

The franchise is hoping to announce the appointment of Wayne Bennett as head coach for the 2023 season and beyond within coming days.

Bennett was the foundation coach of the Broncos in 1988 and won six premierships with the club, guided St George Illawarra to the 2010 title and took South Sydney to this year's grand final.

The 71-year-old has left the Rabbitohs to return to Brisbane and has made no secret of his desire to continue coaching with the Dolphins.

Bennett's name featured prominently when the ARLC asked each of the competing bid teams to nominate a coach, GM of football and how they intended to recruit and develop players.

"You only have to look at what he managed to do this year with South Sydney and how the grand final went so I think any club would be excited to be talking to Wayne Bennett about the possibility of having him take over," Reader said.

"He did a wonderful job at Brisbane and he has continued that on by winning premierships or being a master coach at many other places. The club will be excited if that happens, but it is too early to confirm any of that."

Jones confirmed that he approached Bennett as recently as Monday and talks had progressed quickly.

Dolphins make their intentions clear on Bennett

How will the Dolphins assemble an NRL squad? 

The Dolphins will be able to start filling their 30-man roster for 2023 from November 1, when a host of NRL stars coming off contract at the end of next season are free to start negotiations. 

Queensland players are expected to be targeted but Dolphins chairman Bob Jones made it clear that the club would seek the best talent.

"Probably anyone in the Test team would be good and if we could get the rest of the Test team that would be wonderful," Jones said. "There are lots of wonderful players in the competition.

"You will need marquee players. Any team in the competition is going to have quality players and you won't win games unless you have got quality players. We will find some quality players from somewhere.

For all the latest on the contract status of each player, visit NRL.com's signings tracker.

Will the Dolphins have an NRLW team in the future?

The Dolphins will invest $1m per annum on women's rugby league pathways and development, along with $1m per annum on grassroots rugby league.

"Some of the conditions of us coming into the NRL were how much we spend on grassroots and junior development, and the NRLW is part of that," Reader said.

"We have got a plan and a system with the NRL to hopefully work up to an NRLW side.

"The Redcliffe Dolphins will for the first time be entering a BHP under-19s side in the [Queensland] competition next year so we have got a pathway and a process to make sure we are giving as many opportunities for boys and girls at this club.

"We are just making sure we are doing everything underneath [the NRLW] to make sure we can put a competitive side in the female arena as well." 

How will the Dolphins impact on the Broncos and Titans?

Gold Coast CEO Steve Mitchell congratulated the Dolphins and said the introduction of a fourth Queensland team would create more rivalries.

"It's going to be exciting for the competition," Mitchell said. "I think the upside to it, and it's proven in the research, is the opportunity for local derbies.

"The opportunity to have the Dolphins down here and play us at Cbus [Stadium] ... we play the Broncos here and it's one of the biggest games of the year. Given they're the northern side of Brisbane facing up, I think it's a good outcome for us."

The rivalry between the Broncos and Dolphins will be huge, particularly if Bennett is coach, and Abdo said there would now be 12 Queensland derby matches per season.

"We are going to have a very important rivalry here with the Broncos, but with four teams in Queensland it opens up opportunities for rivalries with the Cowboys and the Titans," he said.

"I think being able to capture that inner-city rivalry but also appealing to a much broader base is the best of both worlds and that is why I think the Dolphins as a name is more appropriate."

What now for the unsuccessful bid teams?

The Firehawks and the Jets made strong submissions and Abdo admitted each would have been worthy of a place in the NRL but the ARLC opted to expand to 17 teams for now.

However, Abdo said there was likely to be an 18th team at some time in the future, possibly within the next five year broadcast cycle commencing in 2023, and the unsuccessful bid teams could apply again.

"We have an open mind, and I think the Commission has an open mind," he said. "We do what is right for the game and what is right for the growth of the game overall.

"We were just fortunate that we had a number of teams that could meet that criteria in Queensland but we need to think about all parts of Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific when considering expansion.

"We had three outstanding bids in front of us. That is part of the reason why this process has taken as long as it has taken.

"We had five criteria and there were strengths and areas for development for each bid. In the end it was unanimous from the bid assessment committee. It was extremely close."

What will the competition structure be in 2023?

The introduction of the Dolphins will create a 17-team competition, meaning there will be byes each week.

Each club will play 24 games in an expanded 26-round competition and have two byes throughout the NRL Telstra Premiership season.

There will be an additional 12 games in 2023 but the length of the season will remain the same.