The Dolphins are honouring their commitment to fostering rugby league in their sprawling catchment through the work of three full-time development officers.
Two new employees based in Rockhampton and Brisbane North join Danny Blair, who has already spent one year developing rugby league in the schools and junior clubs of the Bundaberg region.
Former Bulldogs, Sea Eagles, Knights and Sharks halfback Trent Hodkinson will bring the knowledge learned in six Origin games for NSW to his job in Rockhampton.
In Brisbane, Troy Clarkson will be based out of new Dolphins’ affiliate club Norths Devils, which supports a huge amount of junior clubs in the Queensland capital.
The new roles are an extension of an exercise that saw the Dolphins’ game development team travel more than 60,000 kilometres this year while visiting over 500 schools.
Hodkinson will assist another Dolphins’ affiliate club, the Central Capras, in addition to his work on the ground.
“I’m really diving into that game development role and coach education up in Rockhampton, going into schools and junior footy clubs as well as helping the Capras out with their 17s and 19s with both boys’ and girls’ teams,” he said.
Trent Hodkinson joins Dolphins game development
“It’s about getting out there in the community and helping – giving assistance and coach education and generally growing the game.
“The more people we can get involved in the game the better, so it is about getting out and giving those inexperienced coaches a hand and helping the boys and girls in the schools and the clubs to grow.”
Clarkson said the link with the Dolphins would grow participation and ensure players had a pathway to higher levels across the entire northside of Brisbane.
“With the Devils having such a great history, it is great that players know there is a pathway through the Devils into the Dolphins,” he said.
Troy Clarkson joins Dolphins game development
“My message is we are going to be a presence and a resource so whatever they need we can help with.
“From the Brisbane River to the Pine River we are looking at working with all the volunteers. To all those junior clubs, we want to let you know we are here.”
Blair has already had a huge impact for the game in the Wide Bay area, where the Dolphins’ creation of a new high school competition – the Dolphins Cup - was just one initiative.
Introducing new players to the game through League Tag has already been successful.
“We have been able to create some really good relationships with local leagues, schools and clubs within the Wide Bay region,” said Blair.
Danny Blair joins Dolphins game development
“Our League Tag days are really popular for the sport for those looking at getting into the game, and it is usually the first steps for them.
“The idea was that we would put in a Dolphins League Tag to get people involved on Friday afternoons as part of their school sport.
“There were five schools involved and 24 teams across boys, girls and mixed teams and they played over five weeks.”