The trailblazing relationship brings together New Zealand’s only professional rugby league franchise and the highly successful Queensland powerhouse which has produced some of the biggest names to come out of Queensland including the legendary Arthur Beetson, Petero Civoniceva, Chris Close, John Ribot, former Vodafone Warrior Brent Tate and Daly Cherry-Evans.
Vodafone Warriors CEO Cameron George and Redcliffe Leagues Club CEO Tony Murphy say the partnership is founded on a shared vision which will enable outstanding young players from Queensland and New Zealand to benefit from the best pathways structure available in the game.
It replaces the previous feeder club relationship the Dolphins, based in the Moreton Bay Region, had with the Brisbane Broncos and will start in 2020. The deal is for three years.
“It’s time we revamped our club and in the Redcliffe Dolphins we have the perfect partners who share the same big dreams for the future as us,” Cameron George says.
“Redcliffe is a hugely successful club with a big talent pool and well-established senior and junior pathways.
“We have to improve as an organisation to achieve the expectations we have of ourselves. We need to be different and do things differently to secure the future we see for our great club.”
Tony Murphy says the Dolphins and Warriors have identical ambitions.
“The Warriors-Dolphins partnership is a fantastic fit for our club moving forward post Covid-19,” he says.
“All clubs need to look at their current structure into the future and we have found a perfect solution for both clubs.
“The mutual benefits between both our footy clubs will be enormous. Our aim is to help the Warriors win that elusive NRL premiership and establish an Aussie base here at Dolphin Stadium.
“Outside of footy the benefits to both our regions with tourism and business is something our council is very excited about.”
Dolphins general manager of football operations Grant Cleal says the opportunity was far-reaching for both clubs.
“The Dolphins are joining forces with a very professional organisation that cares about the game,” he says.
“That has been more than evident during the Vodafone Warriors’ relocation to Australia during the successful reboot of the 2020 NRL season.
“Purely on the football side of things, the partnership will assist the premiership aspirations of both clubs while fostering the growth of junior rugby league in the entire Moreton Bay Region.”
Moreton Bay Region Mayor Peter Flannery says the Trans-Tasman allegiance is a logical fit, and he hopes it will add international muscle to the Dolphins’ bid to become the next Brisbane-based NRL franchise
“Moreton Bay is already home to more than 21,000 passionate New Zealand-born residents, not including their extended family members who also live locally,” Mayor Flannery says.
“This trailblazing affiliation between the Dolphins and the Warriors will strengthen our Kiwi ties and bring an influx of international visitors for training and competitions. The Warriors have already begun talking about playing games at our state-of-the-art stadium which, is currently undergoing further upgrades to host 10,000 fans.
“I’ll be meeting with the Warriors at Dolphin Stadium on Wednesday, to talk about getting their support behind our NRL licence bid. Today’s announcement is further proof of the Dolphins’ ability to identify opportunities beyond the horizon and seize them, even at this difficult time.”
George says the Vodafone Warriors had changed their structure by joining the Queensland Cup after withdrawing from the New South Wales Rugby League’s Canterbury Cup NSW competition.
Through this initiative, a number of players from outside the Vodafone Warriors’ NRL squad will appear for the Redcliffe Dolphins in the Queensland Cup each week.
There will also be potential for the Vodafone Warriors to play games at Redcliffe’s Dolphin Stadium.
George and Murphy say their clubs will align their pathway programmes to capture talent to achieve long-term on-field success while staff from both clubs will work closely together to create better opportunities for personal development.