The Dolphins will join the NRL in 2023 and will become the fourth NRL team to reside in Queensland along with the Brisbane Broncos, North Queensland Cowboys and the Gold Coast Titans.
ARLC Chairman Peter V’landys AM said the expansion was a “historic moment” in the game’s history.
“Today is an exciting moment in the history of our game. The NRL Telstra Premiership will expand to 17 teams in 2023 and on behalf of the Commission I would like to congratulate The Dolphins on being granted the 17th licence,” he said in a statement.
The ARC said the expansion would “grow the game in all parts of Queensland”.
Australian Rugby League Commission Chairman Peter V’landys and National Rugby League Chief Executive Andrew Abdo announced The Dolphins would become the 17th NRL team. Picture: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images
The ARLC’s decision to grant the license to The Dolphins comes 14 years after the most recent expansion that saw the Gold Coast Titans added to the competition in 2007.
The Dolphins were favourites to outlast the other two candidates in the expansion race – the Jets and the Firehawks – due to their financial stability which includes $100 million in assets.
As part of the expansion the incoming club was required to be able to immediately operate financially without support from the NRL.
The Dolphins also satisfied the criteria of being able to produce a cheque of $50 million over the coming five years, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
Clubs also had to prove they could increase interest and participation in rugby league without affecting the current NRL teams in Queensland.
The Dolphins are expected to play most of their games at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane with their catchment area running from northern Brisbane, through Moreton Bay and to the Sunshine Coast.
Mr V’landys said The Dolphins were subject to conditions that includes continual investment into the growth of the game.
“It will be a condition of the licence that the Dolphins spend $2 million every year on participation and growing the women’s game in Southeast Queensland. Our focus over the next year is revitalising our participation strategy and The Dolphins will be an important part of that in Queensland,” V’landys said.
The Dolphins must invest $1 million each year in grassroots rugby league and pathways as well as an additional $1 million per annum on women’s rugby league pathways and development. 
NRL CEO Andrew Abdo said The Dolphins would bring more players and investment into Queensland Rugby League and the NRL.
Wayne Bennett is tipped to become The Dolphins coach in 2023. Picture: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images
“This is an exciting day for our game. There will be more opportunities for our players in 2023, more games of rugby league to watch for our fans and more investment in pathways for our grassroots participants,” he said in a press conference.
“It’s also an excellent outcome for our partners and sponsors who have additional exposure from 2023.”
Outgoing South Sydney Rabbitohs coach Wayne Bennett is tipped to become the new franchise’s coach with several big name players coming off contract at the end of 2022 reportedly on his radar.
Players including Cody Walker, Joseph Manu, Viliame Kikau, Clint Gutherson, Brandon Smith, Kalyn Ponga, Reed Mahoney are all yet to have a contract for 2023.
The NRL will expand to a 26 round competition but teams will continue to play 24 games with two byes in the regular season taking the total games played throughout the year from 192 to 204.

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