The Dolphins have put together an extensive recruitment process to fill the club’s roster for their entrance to the NRL competition.
This process has been overseen by head coach Wayne Bennett and chief executive Terry Reader, and masterminded by one of the best recruiters in the game, Peter O’Sullivan.
O’Sullivan has a long history of recruiting some of the biggest names in the game in his times at the St George Illawarra Dragons, Melbourne Storm, the Roosters and most recently, the Warriors.
O’Sullivan’s skill in negotiations were demonstrated early when the Dolphins landed three members of the champion Melbourne Storm’s starting pack – Felise Kaufusi and brothers Jesse and Kenny Bromwich – all within just a few months of winning the bid.
Bennett was adamant he was determined to take a measured and long-term view of recruitment and not rush into buying players early.
This has seen the club gradually build an impressive roster, with more names to come ahead of the start of pre-season in November.
One of the Dolphins’ first orders of business was to ensure the game of rugby league was being promulgated in the newly-defined areas of influence for the club.
The Dolphins’ catchment extends from the north of Brisbane, through the Redcliffe peninsula and Brisbane northern corridor, up to the Sunshine Coast, Wide Bay and Rockhampton and Central Queensland.
Almost immediately the club had employed and sent game development staff out into these communities.
This activity has already included signing an affiliate club arrangement with the Rockhampton-based Central Capras club of the Hostplus Cup, which will sit alongside the agreement to feed players back to the Redcliffe Dolphins team in the same competition.
In addition, the club has already formed a partnership with The Waves Sports Club in Bundaberg to fund a full-time game development officer in the Wide Bay region.
Plans are in place for similar arrangements for game development officers in Central Queensland, the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane’s northern corridor.
One of the key reasons the NRL decided to bring a 17th team into the NRL was to take advantage of new financial opportunities for the game of rugby league.
The Dolphins backed up the NRL’s aspirations in this area almost immediately when they named outdoor leisure brand Adventure Kings as their long-term major sponsor – even before they had signed a single player.
The commercial momentum has continued for the Dolphins, with major partnerships being announced with big-name brands such as insurance giants Budget Direct, wagering company BlueBet, apparel company Classic, iconic Queensland beer brand XXXX and radio station Triple M.
This impressive effort has underlined one of the main arguments the Dolphins made to the NRL during the bid selection process – the ability of the club to drive new money and investment into the game.
The Dolphins launched their first Foundation Membership offering in March 2022 and the reaction from the public was immediate, with traffic crashing the website for hours on the opening day.
It was clear the Dolphins were going to receive immediate support from their wide catchment of supporters from the north of Brisbane through to Central Queensland.
The club’s slogan – ‘A New History Starts Now’ – captured the imagination of both the fans who had always been proud of the Dolphins’ glittering 75-year history, and those who wanted to ensure they were part of the future.
But no-one expected the strength of the first wave of members, who were keen to join despite the club having yet to assemble a full team.
The momentum has continued for the Dolphins, with new supporters joining every day as they clamour to take their place in history as Foundation Members of the club.