Runners-up, signings, players out of contract, 2023 squad, squad, coach Wayne Bennett

The NRL has granted the Dolphins a license to compete in 2023, and now the South Queensland club must begin preparations to compete in the best league in the world.

This means bringing together 30 top players to form a squad from which a 17-man squad can be selected before the first round … in about 17 months.

Wayne Bennett is expected to be announced as their inaugural coach, and Dolphins president Bob Jones has all but revealed that he will hand full roster and recruiting responsibility to the man with the clipboard.

Jones was asked precisely who he wanted to sign to don the Dolphins jersey.

“Probably anyone on the test team,” Jones said.

“And if we could get the rest of the test team… that would be wonderful.

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“I really don’t know who’s available, there are a lot of wonderful players in the competition. We really haven’t thought that far.”

While there haven’t been many rugby league test matches lately, there are a large number of world-class players that Jones would no doubt love to get his hands on.

The Dolphins can start negotiating with players from November 1, but will only be allowed to approach out-of-contract players – those whose current deals expire at the end of October next year.

It is believed that there are 157 NRL players in the market at the end of this month. Here is the best of them.

CHRISTIAN WELCH

The Melbourne mainstay spent two amazing years with the Storm, establishing himself as one of the best forwards in the game and thus winning a State of Origin jersey for Queensland.

Earlier this month, Immortal Rugby League Andrew Johns told Wide World of Sports he would make Welch a priority signing if he leads the Dolphins, and name him their first captain.

Welch became a leader in Melbourne and would provide the Dolphins with a current Maroons representative and a ready-to-go skipper.

ANGUS CRICHTON

Crichton has established himself as the top backrower in the NRL, leaping into the void left by retiree Boyd Cordner at the Roosters this year.

He has signed a short-term contract extension with the Chooks and rumors persist that he may leave the rugby league at the end of next year to seize the opportunity to represent the Wallabies at the Rugby World Cup. 2023.

But whether that’s his plan or not, Crichton can be approached by NRL clubs starting November 1 and will likely have multiple suitors, including the Dolphins.

JOEY MANU

Crichton’s teammate at Bondi, Manu is among the best crosses in the game right now and will cost dearly in his next contract.

He’s very valuable for any team given his ability to play center, fullback and five-eighth with an even class, as the Roosters show this year.

Like Crichton, however, Manu has sparked interest in rugby union and has the chance to potentially play for the All Blacks in 2023.

CODY WALKER

The South Sydney playmaker was arguably the best five-eighth in the NRL this year, and although he has yet to play a test, he has represented the NSW Blues and Indigenous All Stars on several occasions.

Walker’s partner Adam Reynolds has left the Burrow and the former has yet to commit to Cardinal and Myrtle beyond next season.

He’s also forged a close bond with Wayne Bennett in the Bunnies, and Bennett will coach the Dolphins in their inaugural season.

BRANDON SMITH

The Melbourne Wrecking Ball was named Hooker of the Year this season and is a highly prized property in the NRL market, although its value may have taken a hit due to its involvement in the recent white powder.

He’s already garnered a lot of interest from rival clubs, but the Storm are hoping to keep the No.9 nugget, despite having Harry Grant on his books as well, whom some consider to be the best young rake in the game. .

While Smith has played as a Melbourne hooker this year, he is equally effective as a small center forward and can play either prop or lock.

ROSEAU MAHONY

Speaking of prostitutes, Reed Mahoney is in the market and Parramatta Rake is a Queenslander, which adds to the allure of a move north.

He’s been unlucky not to make his Maroons debut this year, but he’s not far behind Harry Grant and Brandon Smith in terms of being the best No.9 youngster in the game.

VILIAME KIKAU

The Penrith and Fiji backrower is built in the mold of the Titans’ beast David Fifita, and has the ability to open a game with a big game.

Kikau has already been the subject of speculation in recent months, with news that the Dragons are keen to lure him away from the foothills of the mountains.

The squeeze on the salary cap at Penrith is likely to cost the club a number of quality players, and Kikau could be on the hunt for a new home before too long.

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JOSH HODGSON

Another prostitute on this list but who brings a wealth of experience and leadership, unlike some of the younger ones.

Hodgson is an England Test player and was considered the second best rake in the game behind Cameron Smith just a few years ago.

His shares have dipped slightly this year after an internal drama at Canberra, when he stepped down as captain and was subsequently rumored to be breaking up with coach Ricky Stuart.

The Broncos were interested in acquiring his services if he left the Raiders, but he might just end up just up the road at Redcliffe.

CLINT GUTHERSON

The Parramatta captain is beloved by eel fans and is part of the blue and gold club furniture.

But for the Dolphins, it would be a quality full-back utility, which would bring the leadership and potential captain skills to the Sunshine State in a plug-and-play package.

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KALYN PONGA

Ponga’s contract is said to contain player options for the 2023 and 2024 seasons, meaning he could effectively leave the Knights at the end of next year if he so chooses.

Like others on this list, rugby union pursues Ponga, but the stylish full-back has said he doesn’t want to leave the Hunter without winning a prime ministerial post for Newcastle.

He started his NRL career at the Cowboys and is a representative for the Maroons, so a transfer from the Dolphins would be kind of back to basics.

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