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A sense of history brought 31,177 people to Suncorp Stadium last Sunday, with fans keen to soak up the atmosphere of the first ever Dolphins game in the NRL.

However, despite the occasion for the home fans, the first person through into the stadium, scanning in at three seconds past 1pm when gates officially opened, was Amie Warner from Morayfield, who also happens to be … a Roosters fan.

“We're Roosters fans, we’ve been living up here actually for 15 years now and we've never been to an NRL game since back in 2008 on the Central Coast, so it was really amazing to be able to come to a Roosters game finally and what better than to come for the Dolphins as well," Warner said.

"For our Queensland team (though), it would be probably be the Dolphins nowadays.

"I think they might surprise a few teams, maybe not today, but give it a few games and I think they'll surprise a few people, definitely."

Amie Warner and Dean Lovelock were the first fans through the gate to see the Dolphins take on the Roosters in Round 1 at Suncorp Stadium.
Amie Warner and Dean Lovelock were the first fans through the gate to see the Dolphins take on the Roosters in Round 1 at Suncorp Stadium. ©Colleen Edwards / NRL

Surprise people - and the Roosters - they did, claiming a stunning opening round win.

It seems that momentum will only keep building from there, with the Dolphins on Monday putting up the full house sign for their Round 2 match against Canberra Raiders at Kayo Stadium in Redcliffe.

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Following their opening victory, coach Wayne Bennett praised the crowd and the atmosphere generated for his side's first game.

“I think the Broncos had 15, 000 the day we played our first game all those years ago and there was 30, 000-plus here today and it was a great atmosphere, and it was a great atmosphere that day as well, but today was pretty special,” Bennett said.

The Dolphins head to Newcastle in Round 3 to take on the Knights before returning to Suncorp Stadium in Round 4 for what is expected to be a huge match against the Broncos in what is being dubbed 'the Battle for Brisbane'. 

With all Queensland teams having enjoyed Round 1 wins, this weekend promises to bring another huge sense of occasion, and this Friday night, another great rivalry will be on show.

The Broncos will host North Queensland Cowboys at Suncorp Stadium in a highly anticipated Queensland derby, with the two clubs producing a number of epic encounters in past seasons.

For their first ever matches in the 'national' competition, both the Broncos and North Queensland welcomed healthy home crowds; with 17,451 there to welcome Brisbane into the fold in 1988 and 23,156 at the grounds when the Cowboys first ran out. 

However, while the Dolphins had a sea of red to welcome them into the top flight at Suncorp Stadium, honour of the biggest home crowd for a Queensland expansion team belongs to the Titans.

The Gold Coast side will take on St George Illawarra Dragons this weekend for Round 2, the team they originally faced off against in their first ever match of NRL, playing in front of 42,030 rugby league fans at Suncorp Stadium in 2007.

Coincidentally, the Dragons in their merged form, hold the record for the biggest crowd for an 'new' team in the NRL, with 104,583 packing into ANZ Stadium in 1999, as part of double header crowd. The Manly Sea Eagles and Newcastle Knights also played on this day. 

Crowds for Queensland expansion club first games

Broncos Broncos v Manly at Lang Park (now Suncorp Stadium) in 1988: 17,451

Gold Coast Giants v Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs at Seagulls Stadium, Tweed Heads in 1988: 5280

South Queensland Crushers v Canberra Raiders at Suncorp Stadium in 1995: 21,102

North Queensland Cowboys v Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs at Stockland Stadium, Townsville in 1995: 23,156

Gold Coast Titans v St George Illawarra Dragons at Suncorp Stadium in 2007: 42,030

The Dolphins v Sydney Roosters at Suncorp Stadium in 2023: 32, 177

*statistics by League Information Services

Acknowledgement of Country

The Dolphins respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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