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Redcliffe-based Dolphins announced as NRL’s 17th franchise for 2023 season
The Australian Rugby League Commission has granted a new licence to Queensland’s Redcliffe-based The Dolphins thereby expanding the NRL Telstra Premiership to 17 teams from the 2023 season. The Dolphins beat rival bids put forward by the Firehawks and the Jets.
Importantly this decision is part of the ARLC’s overall plan to grow the game in all parts of Queensland. Working with the Queensland Rugby League, the Brisbane Broncos, Gold Coast Titans, North Queensland Cowboys and now The Dolphins ensures there is a presence across the State, investing in participation and pathways for both men and women.
It is the first time the NRL has expanded since 2007 when the Gold Coast Titans were admitted to the competition.
The Australian Rugby League Commission approved the grant of a licence to The Dolphins after accepting a recommendation from the expansion bid assessment committee.
To encourage growth in participation and pathways across southeast Queensland, the Dolphins have agreed to invest $1 million per annum on grassroots rugby league and pathways as well as an additional $1 million per annum on women’s rugby league pathways and development. The club will be required to submit an annual budget for Commission approval which sets out how the $2 million in funding will be spent each year.
The addition of a 17th side in the competition means the season will be expanded from 24 to 26 rounds, with two byes. This will increase the number of regular season games from 192 to 204.
ARLC Chairman Peter V’landys noted “today is an exciting moment in the history of our game. The NRL Telstra Premiership will expand to 17 teams in 2023 and on behalf of the Commission I would like to congratulate The Dolphins on being granted the 17th licence.
“I would also like to acknowledge and thank the other bid teams for the work they put into their submissions. All three bids were of the highest calibre and highlight the strength of rugby league in Queensland.”
V’landys said expanding the game in Queensland was vital to the long-term growth of the sport advising “Rugby League is part of Queensland’s DNA and to have four teams based in Queensland will further strengthen our game as the No.1 sport in the State.
“The key to long term success is growth. By growing the NRL Telstra Premiership we create more fans, encourage more participants and increase commercial investment in rugby league.”
NRL Chief Executive Andrew Abdo said the expanded competition would create more opportunities for the rugby league ecosystem adding “this is an exciting day for our game. There will be more opportunities for our players in 2023, more games of rugby league to watch for our fans and more investment in pathways for our grassroots participants.
“It’s also an excellent outcome for our partners and sponsors who have additional exposure from 2023.
“The structure of the season means there will be 12 more games played every year and all clubs will receive 2 byes, which assists the workload management of our players.”
The finals series will stay with the top eight clubs competing for the premiership.
Image: Redcliffe-based Dolphins confirmed to join NRL as 17th franchise in 2023 season (Facebook: Redcliffe Dolphins)
8th October 2021 - Australian Rugby League Commission agrees expansion plans for 17th NRL team
30th September 2021 - Rising Coronavirus cases sees Suncorp Stadium crowd capped at 75% for NRL Grand Final
17th September 2021 - NRL clubs to receive up to $7 million in funding in COVID-19 Relief Package
14th September 2021 - NRL unveils support package for NRLW players after postponement of 2021 season
9th September 2021 - Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium to host relocated NRL Grand Final
8th September 2021 - Regional Queensland secures NRL finals
29th July 2021 - Ongoing Coronavirus challenges sees NRL delay plans for 17th team
11th June 2021 - NRL announces expansion of women’s competition to six teams
14th May 2021 - Suncorp Stadium ready for NRL Magic Round
23rd April 2021 - Public dispute over NRL culture in wake of sex tape leak
12th April 2021 - NRL and Therabody partner to improve player recovery
25th February 2021 - NRL cuts operating costs by more than a third in wake of Coronavirus challenges
23rd July 2020 - AFL and NRL show year-on-year value gains
29th May 2020 - NRL secures new broadcast partnerships with Nine and Foxtel
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