Brisbane Broncos CEO Dave Donaghy has addressed the surprising move by Norths Devils to join forces with the Dolphins in 2024. The Devils, who have been affiliated with the Broncos for the past 16 years and are the reigning Queensland Cup champions, will now be associated with the NRL‘s newest franchise. The announcement comes just before the Dolphins and Devils are set to face off in a highly anticipated clash, following their thrilling 30-30 draw in the 2022 Grand Final rematch. With the addition of the Devils, the Dolphins now have three reserve grade teams, including Redcliffe and the Central Queensland Capras.
Over the years, the Broncos have brought in talented players from Norths, such as Reece Walsh, Kobe Hetherington, Brendan Piakura, Jordan Riki, and Cory Paix. Donaghy acknowledged the end of the Broncos-Devils partnership but emphasized that the club would maintain strong connections with schools and clubs in the northern region at a junior level. He wished Norths the best and stated that the Broncos would continue to establish a strong presence on the north side of the river through their home base and academies at Red Hill, as well as their relationships with schools and game development partners in the north.
As part of the agreement between the Devils and the Dolphins, several initiatives will be put in place. This includes creating a direct pathway for female players from Brisbane North, Moreton Bay, and Sunshine Coast areas to progress through the Dolphins‘ catchment and potentially join the Norths Devils in the future NRLW team. Additionally, the Dolphins will appoint a full-time game development officer at Norths’ home ground of Bishop Park in Nundah. This officer will have the responsibility of growing the game at the grassroots level in the north Brisbane area. Furthermore, select Norths Devils Hostplus Cup players will have the opportunity to be placed on preseason train-and-trial agreements with the Dolphins, increasing their chances of making it to the NRL.
Dolphins CEO Terry Reader expressed excitement about the partnership, highlighting Norths’ rich history in the Brisbane Rugby League since its establishment in 1933. Reader sees the affiliation with the Devils as a valuable asset to the Dolphins and the game in the north Brisbane area. The collaboration will allow the Dolphins to contribute to the growth of junior clubs at the grassroots level and foster a stronger connection between local players and the elite NRL and NRLW Dolphins Academy, where future stars are developed. With Norths already having junior players in the Dolphins‘ academy program, this move represents a significant step in strengthening the bond between the club and the local community.