NRL club 74 years in the making

Always a Dolphin: the making of legends

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.

Humble beginnings

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

Timeline - a proud history

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

Dolphins’ honour roll

Played for Australia before playing for Dolphins

Ken McCrohon.

Henry Holloway

Mark Murray

John Ribot

Brad Tessmann

Greg Conescu

Dave Brown

Played for Australia while playing for Dolphins

Bob Gehrke

Greg Oliphant

Chris Close

Wally Fullerton-Smith

Mark Murray

John Ribot

Bryan Niebling (pictured)

Greg Conescu

Played for Australia after leaving Dolphins

Arthur Beetson

Stephen Crear

Ray Higgs

Dave Trewhella

Tony Currie

David Shillington

Dane Gagai

Juniors who played for Australia

Petero Civoniceva

Dane Carlaw

Brent Tate

Michael Crocker

Coached Australia while Coaching Dolphins

Frank Stanton

Coached Australia after coaching Dolphins

Arthur Beetson

Australian Schoolboys

Curtis Powell

Adam Chapman

Clinton O’Brien

Dane Carlaw

Craig Frawley

Trent Clayton

Brent Tate

Daniel Jones

Michael Bond

Luke Capewell

David Hala

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

Bob Gerhke

Trevor Harken

Steve Crear

Tony Obst

Robert Orchard Snr

Ron Raper

Peter Leis

Rod Halley

Steve Bullow

Chris Anderson

Ian Thinee

Ian Pearce

Brian Gardiner

Terry Donnelly

Greg Oliphant

David Moffett

Chris Close

Arthur Beetson

Trevor Benson

Wally Fullerton-Smith

Mark Murray

Richard Poulsen

Mitch Brennan

Paul Khan

Shane Bernardin

John Ribot

Bryan Niebling

Greg Conescu

Jamie Sandy

Xavier Coates

Photos: Courtesy of the Dolphins

Want to back the Dolphins' bid to be the 17th team in the NRL? Visit the website 

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