Dolphins, Wayne Bennett, squad, roster, signings, marquee, 2023, expansion team, Brandon Smith, Kalyn Ponga, Brent Tate

Queensland great Brent Tate says the Dolphins don’t need necessarily a marquee man because they’ve already got one in coach Wayne Bennett.

The Dolphins have come under fire for failing to make a splash on the open market in their first month as club, as big-name players continue to sign elsewhere.

But Tate – who played for the Dolphins in the Queensland Cup before launching his NRL career at the Broncos – has called for calm and said a superstar signing doesn’t always translate to success.

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Tate played under Bennett for seven seasons in Brisbane – winning a premiership in 2006 – and he emphasised the supercoach won’t be worried about the “outside noise”.

“Just because some people are saying they need a million-dollar signing or a marquee signing, it doesn’t mean that they’re under pressure to get one,” Tate told

“Who is under pressure? Why are they under pressure? Just because everyone is reporting that and saying that, it doesn’t mean that’s what’s coming out of Redcliffe.

Wayne Bennett’s first Dolphins press conference, Redcliffe. Picture: Liam KidstonSource: News Corp Australia

“One thing I know about Wayne is, everyone else will be making noise – but I’m sure Wayne is pretty comfortable where things are at and the direction they’re heading.

“At the end of the day it’s background noise and Wayne is good enough and experienced enough, he won’t be panicking about not having that first signing.”

The Dolphins will enter the NRL in 2023 and – since November 1 – have been free to negotiate with players coming off contract at the end of next season.

The club was officially announced on September 13 and since then they’ve missed out on a host of stars who were linked to the club.

The Storm extended Cameron Munster, Harry Grant and Christian Welch, while Cody Walker (Rabbitohs), Reegan Campbell-Gillard (Eels) and Tino Fa’asuamaleaui (Titans) were also locked down over the past month.

Melbourne hooker Brandon Smith and Newcastle fullback are the best players left on the open market.

“It does help but that doesn’t mean it’s been a success in the past either, having a face of a club,” Tate said.

Wayne Bennett. Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

“And they’ve got Wayne Bennett as a coach, I don’t think there’s any profile in the game, player or coach, bigger than Wayne.

“So as far as having a face of the club – they’ve already got one. I just don’t buy into the fact they need one or there’s pressure to have one.

“Would it be nice? Possibly. But it has to be the right one and if they’re not available … at the end of the day people have got to have faith in Wayne and the staff he’s recruited that they know the direction they’re going to take.

“I don’t mind the fact they’re in the background and are not being disrespectful to other clubs by making a whole heap of noise in the media around what players they’re after, they’re sort of going about their business quietly which I like.”

Tate believes the club should only go after a marquee man if they’re willing to throw themselves into the club and community.


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Tate, who played 26 games for the Kangaroos, said Bennett has the ability to build a roster of middle-money men and still compete straight away.

“Whether they go for the million-dollar man or they start building the squad with 12 or 13 blokes on that (around $500,000) money… time will tell,” he said.

“It comes back to what those guys want out of coming to Redcliffe. You’ve got to want to go there and immerse yourself in the community and the club.

“Because if you’re going to go somewhere and be successful you’ve got to allow yourself to buy into that, you’ve got to live and breathe it.”


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