Long-time Dolphins administrator Grant Cleal will step up to run football operations for the new NRL team in their debut season of 2023.
Cleal has been handpicked by Dolphins’ head coach Wayne Bennett to manage the operations and logistics of the new football department.
He brings with him more than 20 years of experience as part of the Dolphins’ push to become the 17th team in the NRL.
Currently the chief executive of the Redcliffe Dolphins’ Qld Cup entity, Cleal has experience as a former player, coach and football manager for the club.
Under his leadership in 2022 the Dolphins made the grand final in both QRL grades contested – the Hostplus Cup and under-21s Hastings-Deerings Colts competitions.
While the Dolphins went down in the deciders held last Saturday, winning through to both grand finals was indicative of the levels of achievement Cleal has overseen.
He was in charge when the Redcliffe Dolphins last won the Queensland Cup premiership in 2018.
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Chairman of the Dolphins, Bob Jones, said Cleal has been a valuable asset to the club for many years and will continue to be so as the NRL’s Head of Football Operations.
“Grant has done a wonderful job for the Dolphins over a long period of time in what can be a very challenging role,” said Jones.
“He appreciates the history and aspirations of the club, and I am certain will be a success in his new role with the NRL team.”
Dolphins NRL chief executive Terry Reader said Cleal had been a logical choice for the position.
“One of the real advantages the Dolphins have is the long history we will be taking with us into the NRL – over 75 years of experience and success,” said Reader.
“Grant has been part of that story and has overseen the most recent stage of that success. He will bring experience with him, and an understanding of the Dolphins’ values as he moves up to manage football operations for the NRL team.
“We welcome him to the NRL department as we begin our exciting journey in season 2023.”
Cleal will begin his role with the NRL team immediately as the Dolphins ready for the arrival of the playing roster that begin pre-season training in the first week of November.