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No known address: Everyone loves a Dolphin - just don't say where they're from

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Despite outspoken community criticism, the NRL’s expansion club is determined to be known simply as the Dolphins.

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The Redcliffe-based organisation is sticking to its guns  after the NRL announcement of the competition’s 17th franchise last week came without any link to a geographical area in the team name.

Moreton Bay Regional Council mayor Peter Flannery is the latest critic, claiming the council understood the club would be known as the Moreton Bay Dolphins if the bid was successful and is threatening to withdraw financial support if the name isn’t changed.

Dolphins Group chief executive Tony Murphy was, however, unapologetic in his stance as the club announced the signing of Wayne Bennett as head coach on Thursday, categorically ruling out any geographical association being attached to the team’s name.

“We will push Moreton Bay every day of the week but we’re a national brand now,” Murphy said.

“The Redcliffe Dolphins will always survive, they will play in the Queensland Cup.

“The Dolphins is a national brand and we’re going to treat it like a national brand.

“That’s the name that we’re going to stay with.”

The club has signed Bennett, 71, to a four-year deal as they prepare for their debut in the competition in 2023.

Murphy said he had a long-standing personal relationship with Flannery and was confident he will be able to soothe the situation with the local council.

He denied any suggestion that calling the team simply the Dolphins was forced on the bid by NRL and ARL Commission powers such as Peter V’Landys.

The New Zealand-based Warriors are the only other NRL club to not have a locality attached to their name.

Murphy said the most important part of the club’s branding was the logo they’d fought to deny Gold Coast using when they joined the competition in 2007.

“They ring us probably a night before it was going to be announced that they were going to be the Gold Coast Dolphins,” Murphy said.

“We didn’t know a lot about brands back in those days, but we did know that we wanted to keep the Dolphin and we wanted to play in the NRL. That was our goal.

“What we did do was a lot of research and after that research told us that the Dolphin was the most powerful IP that we had.

“For us to not to go with the Dolphins would be silly.

“It’s such a good brand.

“It’s very good for children, very good for newcomers – people that want to come into the game love a dolphin – mum’s love a dolphin, we all love them.

“That’s pretty much the reason why we chose it and we had to lock it in.”

The only coach to take four different clubs to a grand final – including Brisbane five years after their entry to the NRL in 1988 – Bennett’s appointment comes before the November 1 deadline when the Dolphins can begin negotiations with players.

With a $9.5 million salary cap to fill, Bennett says it’s more than just pure talent that will drive his selections.

“Culture, every time,” he said.

“The talent will come and we’ll grow the talent, we’ll find the talent but it’s who we are and what we are and what we stand for is the important things within clubs.

“Obviously I want the good players to come here and want to feel comfortable here but there’s just more than me being here that will bring them here and that’s the concept that I’ll be buying in to and I want everyone else to buy in to.

“This is a wonderful club, great area and it’s not about one person.”

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