In the first time since 2007, the NRL will have a new team joining the league – the Dolphins. The Redcliffe Dolphins launched a bid for inclusion in the NRL in 2020, and the Dolphins were granted a separate licence the following year to become the 17th NRL team. There are a number of questions surrounding this Dolphins team, and only time will answer them. But it will certainly be interesting to see how master coach Wayne Bennett whips his new team into shape.
Seeing though the Dolphins are a brand-new team entering the NRL for the first time, there was a major recruitment process, to find the best players possible for each position. The Dolphins have seemingly pinched a quality player from almost every team in the NRL.
Some key players to note include, from the Storm, Felise Kaufusi and the Bromwich brothers, Jesse and Kenny. They have also brought across Edrick Lee and Anthony Milford from the Knights. They’ve taken three players from the Titans, Jamayne Isaako, Jarrod Wallace and Herman Ese'ese, along with three players from the Cowboys, Tom Gilbert, Connelly Lemuelu and Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow. The Dolphins also recruited Euan Aitken from the Warriors and Kodi Nikorima from the Rabbitohs.
Ins: Felise Kaufusi, Jesse Bromwich, Kenny Bromwich, Ray Stone, Brenko Lee, Tesi Niu, Edrick Lee, Anthony Milford, Jamayne Isaako, Jarrod Wallace, Herman Ese'ese, Euan Aitken, Jeremy Marshall King, Isaiya Katoa, Robert Jennings, Sean O'Sullivan, Mark Nicholls, Kodi Nikorima, Tom Gilbert, Connelly Lemuelu, Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, Oliver Gildart, Valynce Te Whare, Harrison Graham, Michael Roberts, JJ Collins, Ryan Jackson and Jeremiah Simbiken
Key Player: Former Melbourne Players
With the Dolphins making an appearance in the NRL for the first time in the 2023 season, it is very difficult to pinpoint just one key player. The three players making their way north from Melbourne, Felise Kaufusi, Jesse Bromwich and Kenny Bromwich will be the players to watch for the Dolphins. It will be interesting to see how they perform under the guidance of Bennett compared to that of Bellamy.
Rising Star: Valynce Te Whare
There are a number of rookies in this Dolphins squad that will be looking for a regular spot in first grade. Valynce Te Whare fits the bill perfectly, and the footwork from the big man will see him go far. The 22-year-old is ready to make his debut, and get ready when he does, he’ll likely be steam rolling his opponents.
5 Key Matches To Watch
Match 1: Round 4, vs Broncos, at Suncorp Stadium (Fri, Mar 24, 8:05pm)
Match 2: Round 6, vs Cowboys, at Queensland Country Bank Stadium (Fri, Apr 7, 8pm)
Match 3: Round 8, vs Titans, at Suncorp Stadium (Sun, Apr 23, 2pm)
Match 4: Round 18, vs Broncos, at The Gabba (Sat, Jul 1, 7:35pm)
Match 5: Round 19, vs Titans, at Cbus Super Stadium (Sun, Jul 9, 4:05pm)
2023 NRL Season Expectations
Honestly, with master coach Wayne Bennett, anything can happen. But it is a tall ask for the Dolphins to come in and win games against teams that have spent years and years building their current squad. We will see within the first few games whether the squad has enough cohesion, but in the end, it looks to be a tough first year for the Dolphins. It would be very surprising if they can finish in the top 10.