The NRL has confirmed Redcliffe will join the competition from the 2023 season after the Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) approved the 17th licence.
The Commission approved both the expansion of the competition and Redcliffe – to be known as The Dolphins – as the successful bid, in favour of other expansion hopefuls the Brisbane Firehawks and the Brisbane Jets.
The expanded 17-team competition will result in the NRL becoming a 26-round competition with every team continuing to play 24 games, with two byes, but with the total number of regular season games increasing from 192 to 204.
ARLC Chairman Peter V’landys said Wednesday’s announcement was a landmark moment in the game’s history and would continue the push to grow the game in Queensland.
“Today is an exciting moment in the history of our game … on behalf of the Commission I would like to congratulate The Dolphins on being granted the 17th licence,” V’landys said in a statement.
“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.”
🚨BREAKING: The Dolphins are finally into the NRL! The Australian Rugby League Commission has just approved us as the 17th Club in the competition. Click here to be part of our Club: https://t.co/6teifW4tdH #DolphinsNRL pic.twitter.com/ek6HHClg03
— Dolphins NRL (@dolphinsnrl) October 12, 2021
V’landys said expanding the game in the Sunshine State was key to the long-term growth of the sport, with more fans, participants and commercial investment.
“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,” he said.
“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.”