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Redcliffe-based Dolphins announced as NRL’s 17th franchise for 2023 season

Redcliffe-based Dolphins announced as NRL’s 17th franchise for 2023 season
October 13, 2021

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)

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