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NRL Finalise Redcliffe Dolphins As 17th Team


The NRL has officially named the Redcliffe Dolphins as the 17th team, with the Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) approving the grant of a new licence for ‘The Dolphins’.

The Dolphins join the Brisbane Broncos as the second Brisbane-based NRL club, growing the number of Queensland-based clubs to four.

As part of the decision, The Dolphins have agreed to invest $1 million per annum on grassroots rugby league and elite pathways, as well as an additional $1 million per annum on women’s rugby league pathways and development.

The $2 million annual spend from the club will be submitted for the ARLC approval in the form of an annual budget.

ARLC chairman, Peter V’landys, said: “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 3 bids were of the highest calibre and highlight the strength of rugby league in Queensland.

“Rugby League is part of Queensland’s DNA and to have 4 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.

“Expansion is also a really important part of our participation strategy.

“It will be a condition of the licence that the Dolphins spend $2 million every year on participation and growing the women’s game in Southeast Queensland.

“Our focus over the next year is revitalising our participation strategy and The Dolphins will be an important part of that in Queensland.

“Our priority as a Commission was firstly to ensure all 16 clubs came through the pandemic financially secure and we have achieved that.

“This decision adds substantial value to the game which will benefit all existing clubs.

“I would like to acknowledge our broadcast partner Fox Sports who have agreed to an enhanced broadcast agreement from 2023 to 2027,” V’landys said.

As part of the expansion, the NRL will become a 26-round competition, with every team set to play 24 games and receive two byes throughout the season.

NRL CEO, Andrew Abdo, said the expansion will create greater opportunities for the entire rugby league ecosystem.

“This is an exciting day for our game,” Abdo said.

“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,” he said.

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