Michael Hipwood is pretty sure he’s the first person to wear the Dolphins’ heritage jersey at Graceland, taking the opportunity to show his colours at the home of the late Elvis Presley during a business trip late last month.
The Chief Financial Officer of Murarrie-based firm Tritium was in the United States as the company worked on a deal with the Tennessee State Government to build a manufacturing plant for electric vehicle charging stations which will be able to manufacture up to 30,000 of them per year.
While he was there, he visited the New York Stock Exchange where they rang the famous NASDAQ Bell and, on his way to Tennessee, he stopped at Memphis for a photo opportunity of a lifetime.
He bought himself a Dolphins’ heritage jersey for his birthday and some for his family for Christmas, planning to wear his for a photo somewhere in the US while he was there.
“I’d always planned to put it on and wear it somewhere memorable. My mates (also passionate Dolphins supporters and Elvis fans) were a bit jealous I was going to Graceland, so it was the place,” he says.
“I’m pretty sure I’m the first Dolphins supporter to wear the NRL (heritage) jersey at Graceland.”
So, does he think the King (of rock’n’roll, not rugby league) would have approved?
“I’m sure he would have looked good in it. It might have needed a few more rhinestones and a decent collar,” Michael says laughing.
The former Caboolture State School and Caboolture State High School student says he has been a Dolphins fan since he could walk, spurred on by his father who played on the wing in C-Grade for the Dolphins with Arthur Beetson in the 1960s before Beetson went on to play A-Grade.
Michael and a group of friends who have been mates since university all have links to the Dolphins, so when the ARL Commission announced a 17th licence and second Brisbane team, they got behind the bid.
Michael never played for the Dolphins, the trip down from Caboolture was too tricky growing up, but he did play at high school and for the Caboolture Snakes. His under-11 side were undefeated in their season but lost the Grand Final.
He remembers listening to Dolphins games on the radio and the heroics of Ian ‘Bunny’ Pierce, Tony Obst and others.
Michael and his family were regular visitors to the Redcliffe peninsula and he recalls seeing Beetson walking along Redcliffe Pde one day when they were Christmas shopping.
It’s that history that has cemented his support for the NRL’s newest club.
“I think it will be really good that we have a traditional Brisbane-based team with strong history playing in the NRL. It will be very exciting. Everyone up and down the coast will be very excited about that. It’s good that Wayne Bennett is the coach and they are signing some good players,” he says.
“I’m looking out every day how we can buy a box or reserve seats so we can support the Dolphins at every match. Go the Dolphins!”
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