The NRL has come under fire for failing to assist the Dolphins in building a roster strong enough to compete in their inaugural season.
Wayne Bennett’s club will enter the competition as the 17th club and have so far signed 14 players including Jesse and Kenny Bromwich, Euan Aitken, Felise Kaufusi and Jamayne Isaako.
NRL360 co-host Paul Kent believes NRL powerbrokers should be doing more to assist the Dolphins in recruiting quality players.
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In other competitions across the world draft systems are able to assist new or struggling teams to rebuild, while the NRL’s newest club has been left stranded.
“If they run 17th next year, second last next year, how is that a good look for the game?” The Daily Telegraph’s David Riccio said.
“It is not, the NRL should be involved, the game needs to help these new teams that come in because there will be an 18th team at some point,” Kent said.
“They need to come in, we have seen in other leagues overseas in the past where you are allowed the isolate players and the new club, and whoever hasn’t been barred from being in the negotiations, you are allowed to negotiate with anyone who can break their contract to go.
“That helps strengthen the club, in the AFL they have draft choices and GWS for example were given a massive amount of first round draft choices and they were given that for some years to help them strengthen their club.
“The Dolphins are being given no favours, the NRL insisted on Wayne Bennett being the coach because they believed it would help bring strong players to the club.
“It hasn’t worked out like they anticipated, I know Wayne is sitting there smoking a cigarette saying nothing to see here, not a problem, but the fact is it is slower than what they would have liked, they are still yet to land that marquee signing they suggested they would have no problem signing.
“There is no doubt there is a problem there and the NRL, for the good of the game, need to sit down and look at how they have handled this and say you know what, we have made a blue here.
“To just sit there and be expected to be treated like every other team is not the right way to go about it.”
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According to Riccio, ARL commissioners are already concerned about the Dolphins recruitment and proposed an idea that would have afforded the club more time to sign quality players.
But, Dolphins coach Wayne Bennett is said to be calm regarding his team’s roster.
“You are right and there are commissioners sitting on the ARL commission concerned by this,” Riccio said.
“They thought that Wayne Bennett could wave his magic wand and form this lucrative roster and it hasn’t happened.
“I believe they should have been given two years, give them two years to build this team.”
“I’ll tell you the only person that is not complaining though, I spoke with Bennett today, he said Redcliffe have accepted the offer to come in as a 17th team, I have accepted the job to come in as coach, we knew the challenge that we were getting ourselves in to,” The Daily Telegraph’s Paul Crawley said.
“Don’t expect to hear him crying about it because they know the job they have to do and that’s where he stands on.”
Meanwhile, NRL360 host Braith Anasta posed an interesting question — are the Dolphins focused on 2024?
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As it stands, there is minimal marquee talent available for the 2023 season unless players break their current contracts.
Cameron Munster and Stephen Crichton are available to negotiate with rival clubs from November 1 and are said to be two targets.
But, Bennett may have an ace up his sleeve, having reportedly signed a number of players who are yet to break their contract and announce their move.
“We have all been hearing for some time that there is players he has signed that haven’t been released yet, everyone is sort of sitting back waiting, well when are these guys going to be released,” Kent said.
“It was always around the Origin, or just after Origin once players got through their duties, but it will only take a few more weeks and they then won’t want to interrupt players going into their finals series.
“So I don’t know when this is going to happen but it is going to have to happen at some point.
“We are in June now, they are a fully fledged NRL team ready to go in November.”
“That is right and they were pinning their hopes on Munster, couldn’t get him out of his contract early, Stephen Crichton is another one but he is further down the track in terms of being available for November 1,” Riccio said.