School age rugby league players in Central Queensland and Wide Bay will have the chance to take on the best in Queensland through a competition sponsored by new NRL club the Dolphins.
Six schools will compete in the 2022 Dolphins Cup with the winner to earn a place in the semi-final of the Queensland-wide competition.
Rockhampton schools Emmaus College, The Cathedral College and Rockhampton Grammar will join Yeppoon’s St Brendan’s College in the competition.
Bundaberg State High School and Shalom Catholic College will also compete in both levels of the competition, the open and under-15 age group.
The five preliminary rounds of the Dolphins Cup will begin in June, with the winner to progress to a Queensland semi-final against the winners of the northern zone’s Aaron Payne Cup.
The winner of that match meets the southern zone champion in the state final, with the victor going on to meet the best school in NSW.
A group of Dolphins’ representatives, led by chief executive Terry Reader, head coach Wayne Bennett and Head of Pathways Kurt Richards spent time at the schools in Bundaberg this week.
Dolphins’ officials visited schools in the Rockhampton area last week.
“The Dolphins Cup will give these schools in Rockhampton and Bundaberg an opportunity to pit themselves against the best school-age players in the State,” said Dolphins’ chief executive Terry Reader.
“It is envisioned even more schools will be added to both levels of the competitions for season 2023.
“It is important to note the Dolphins Cup will also minimize travel times for the school teams – they don’t have to travel to Brisbane or North Queensland every week to play in this competition.
“Ultimately school is about time in the classroom and the Dolphins Cup will help teams compete at the highest level, but by minimizing that travel burden it will lessen impact on class time for students.”
Chairman of Queensland School Sport Rugby League (13-18 years), Andrew Peach, said he was excited about the opportunities provided by the Dolphins Cup.
“We are really excited to have the support of the Dolphins leading into their inaugural year in the NRL in 2023,” said Mr Peach.
“We’ve got some great schools and outstanding people in the Rockhampton and Bundaberg area who will benefit from the revised structure of our competition.
“We’re very thankful for the enthusiasm of the Dolphins team in coming on board to support school rugby league and expanding opportunities for schools and students through the Dolphins Cup competitions.”
The Dolphins have committed to developing the game through grassroots participation across their footprint that stretches from Brisbane’s northern suburbs right through to Central Queensland.
The club has already invested heavily in the Central Queensland region by agreeing to an affiliate club agreement to supply NRL-level players to Hostplus Cup club the Central Capras.
The Dolphins will enter the NRL as the 17th team for the 2023 season.