Redcliffe Dolphins chairman Bob Jones has said the organisation is “NRL ready” after work was completed to upgrade its stadium as part of an effort to land a second National Rugby League team for Brisbane.
The Dolphins NRL Bid is now said to be complete following the opening of the final grandstand at Dolphin Stadium. The venue, which first opened in 1979, has been redeveloped to a capacity of 11,500, 10,000 of which will be seated.
Both the federal government and Moreton Bay Regional Council have thrown their support behind the club and its bid to become the 17th NRL team, contributing A$6.5m (£3.6m/€4m/$4.6m) to the project.
The new Northern Stand completes the work, adding to infrastructure the Dolphins claim is comparable to any other NRL club. The Dolphins precinct boasts a Leagues Club, the Dolphins Leisure Centre that includes a gymnasium and pool and the Dolphins’ Central Shopping Centre which, along with the leisure centre, has been operating for over five years with key anchored tenants. The Dolphins has already constructed office space designed specifically to cater for the operation of an NRL team.
This infrastructure sits on a 11-hectare site that is wholly owned by the Dolphins and is situated just 25 minutes from Brisbane Airport and just over a half-hour drive from the city’s CBD. Jones said completion of the seating bowl at the stadium meant the bid was “NRL ready”.
He continued: “This stadium will be a wonderful acquisition for the local community and will be a beacon for our traditional rugby league grass roots base and opportunities to host other major events for the region. With this in place, the Dolphins NRL Bid now has all the ingredients to provide a strong, community-based team that would represent as a true Brisbane club in the NRL.
“We have welcomed NRL chairman Peter V’landys’ comments that the NRL would be enhanced by a second Brisbane team in the NRL, and we firmly believe no other bid can match the levels of community engagement, infrastructure base and financial stability that the Dolphins NRL Bid has in place.”
The stadium was constructed utilising A$500,000 from the federal government Community Sport Infrastructure Grant Program for the construction of female facilities and A$3m from its Community Development Grants Program, as well as A$2.5m from the Moreton Bay Regional Council.
Moreton Bay Mayor Peter Flannery said Council’s A$2.5m contribution to the project was an investment in the local economy, events, and hopefully an NRL licence. “Now the stadium upgrades are complete, we’ve set the Dolphins up right in front of the sticks to make this conversion into an NRL licence,” he added.
“The Dolphins run rings around every other contender in terms of their business prowess and financial position, and with more than 5,200 locals playing rugby league the growth potential here is huge.”
The Dolphins will reportedly seek to utilise Dolphin Stadium for a couple of games per year and as a training ground, with the majority of NRL fixtures earmarked for the 52,500-capacity Suncorp Stadium.
Images: Dolphins NRL Bid