Dolphins will join the NRL in 2023

Published 13 October 2021

Dolphins NRL bid

Moreton Bay is now on the national stage with the announcement that the Dolphins will join the NRL as the 17th team for season 2023 after beating out bids from Ipswich and Brisbane.

Mayor Peter Flannery said this was a monumental decision by the Australian Rugby League Commission that would help elevate Moreton Bay over the coming decades as the region embraces major growth and new opportunities.

“This has been a long time coming for the people of Moreton Bay - in fact it’s 74 years since the Dolphins first kicked off its proud history in the local suburban leagues back in 1947,” he said.

“A lot of blood, sweat and tears have gone into creating the powerhouse club that they are today with their huge club assets, devoted supporter base, rich history and now the proud owners of an NRL licence.

“I want to congratulate the Dolphins on an exceptional bid campaign that I think made the decision a no brainer for the ARLC, and a massive thank you to every fan, organisation, group, business and all three levels of government who helped along the way.

“Today’s announcement is one we can all celebrate together because it means huge region-wide benefits for Moreton Bay as a whole and it comes at an important time in our region’s history.

“We are the third largest local government in Australia and also one of the fastest growing, so it’s important to provide our residents with opportunities to succeed and showcasing our unique identity and way of life.

“Moreton Bay has long been defined by its various and colourful communities, but now we have a common identity we can all rally behind and support on the national stage where we belong.

“A Moreton Bay NRL team is projected to generate $74.88 million annually to our local economy and it’s estimated to support more than 400 local jobs, with some of those to be created at the club itself.

 “The community and grassroots impacts will be profound with club’s ability to reach new junior players and spread the game of rugby league and the associated health benefits right across the region.

“We’re already home to some 5,600 junior rugby league players with 650 of those playing at Dolphins, and a further 15,500 registered players within a 50-minute drive of Moreton Daily Stadium.

“All those young boys and girls will now have a local team to call their own and they’ll also have a direct pathway to play rugby league right here in their own backyard.

“Council has helped turn Moreton Daily Stadium into the best boutique sports venue in Australia with our $8.4 million investment toward the overall $24 million upgrades thanks to contributions from the Federal and State Governments.

“By the end of this year it will have played host to 41 different events including an NRL trial, two NRL double headers and the final NRL fixture of the season,  Brisbane Roar’s A-League home matches, the NRL’s National Women’s Championship  and the Intrust Super Cup Grand Final this weekend.

“The investment has already been worth every cent to see these events being hosted locally, televised nationally and internationally and for the many opportunities they provide to businesses across the region as they look to recover from COVID-19 impacts - so you can only imagine what it will mean to have a permanent NRL team based in Moreton Bay.

“I can’t wait to see Moreton Bay Dolphins run out on the national stage in 2023 and now we just need to convince Wayne Bennett to come coach and start a healthy rivalry with our cross-town rivals