As we celebrate news the Dolphins will be the NRL’s 17th club, we take a look at the 74-year journey that brought them to the national stage … and the legends who helped pave the way.
From humble beginnings in 1947 at the Redcliffe Showgrounds to the rugby league powerhouse it is today, the Dolphins has been the club of champions, legends of the game who have gone on to represent their state and country.
Players like Arthur Beetson, who moved from Roma to Redcliffe to play for the Dolphins in 1964 and was part of the legendary 1965 Brisbane Rugby League Premiership-winning side, went on to play in the NSWRL and Australia.
He returned to the Dolphins in 1981 and became player-coach, when coach Frank Stanton left the club.
Dolphins CEO Tony Murphy says Beetson famously declared it would be a dream come true to see Easts and the Dolphins playing each other in the NRL.
Beetson is just one of a long list of league legends with connections to the club including Wally Fullerton-Smith, Trevor Harken, Kevin Yow Yeh, Greg Conescu, Mark Murray, Bryan Niebling, Petero Civoniceva, Peter Leis, Troy Lindsay, Tony Obst, Dick ‘Tosser’ Turner, Greg Oliphant, and the Bleakleys, Boxalls, Cherrys (including Daly Cherry-Evans) and Webbs.
There are so many more. Take a look at the roll of honour at the end of the story.
The club has also had its fair share of high-profile coaches including Ken Day, Frank Stanton, Arthur Beetson, Mark Murray, Anthony Griffin and Adam Mogg.
Photo courtesy of the Dolphins: Bob Jones and a massive crowd at the opening of Dolphin Oval.
Redcliffe District Rugby League Football Club Inc was founded on February 27, 1947, and in its first year entered Under 17, Reserve Grade and First Grade teams into the Sandgate Suburban Rugby League competition.
Through the 1950s, the club also played in the Kilcoy, Murrumba and Geraghty Cup competitions. On November 19, 1959, the Dolphins received full district club status and was accepted into the Brisbane First Grade competition.
The club won the Brisbane Rugby League Premiership for the first time in 1965, but lost all six Grand Final appearances from 1973-87, including Beetson’s final appearance in 1981.
Redemption came in 1994, when the club’s teams won four premierships. The Dolphins also won the competition in 1997, 2000, 2002 and 2003.
The Dolphins started playing in the Queensland Cup competition in 2006, beating Toowoomba in the Grand Final. The club won the Grand Final again in 2018 and is the most successful in the competition, appearing in 11 Grand Finals and winning six premierships since 1996.
It has always wanted to play rugby league at the highest level, something that has attracted the best players and coaches, and would aspire to do the same on the national stage.
Photo courtesy of the Dolphins: The legendary team of 1965
1947: The Redcliffe Dolphins founded, originally known as “Shellgrit”
1950: During the 1950s, Redcliffe played in the Kilcoy, Murrumba and Geraghty Cup competitions
1960: Dolphins started playing in the Brisbane Rugby League competition
1965: The club won the Brisbane Rugby League Premiership for the first time
1979: The club officially opened its new home ground, Dolphin Oval, moving from Redcliffe Showgrounds
1994: The Dolphins took out four premierships in one season
2006: The Dolphins won the 2006 Queensland Cup, beating Toowoomba in the Grand Final at Suncorp Stadium
2016: Stage one of the Dolphins’ Stadium, the Des Webb Stand, is completed
2018: Dolphins win the Queensland Cup, beating Easts Tigers in the Grand Final at Suncorp Stadium
2020: Stage three of the stadium, the northern stand, opened
2021: Dolphins prepare a bid for the 17th NRL licence
Photo courtesy of the Dolphins: Bryan Niebling
Played for Australia before playing for Dolphins
Played for Australia while playing for Dolphins
Bryan Niebling (pictured)
Played for Australia after leaving Dolphins
Juniors who played for Australia
Coached Australia while Coaching Dolphins
Coached Australia after coaching Dolphins
Represented other nations while playing for Dolphins
Louta Atoi – PNG
Tommy O’Reilly – PNG
Robert Campbell – Russia
Duncan Naawi – PNG
Tommy Butterfield – PNG
Petero Civoniceva – Fiji
Tui Samoa – USA
Played for Queensland
Robert Orchard Snr
Photos: Courtesy of the Dolphins