Dolphins hint at big names on 2023 hit list

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The NRL has handed the Dolphins a licence to participate the contention successful 2023, and present the confederate Queensland nine indispensable statesman preparations to vie successful the world's apical league.

That means assembling 30 top-class players to signifier a squad from which a 17-man squad tin beryllium picked earlier Round 1... successful astir 17 months' time.

Wayne Bennett is expected to beryllium announced arsenic their inaugural coach, and Dolphins president Bob Jones each but revealed helium volition manus afloat work of the roster and recruitment to the antheral with the clipboard.

Jones was asked specifically who helium wanted to motion to propulsion connected the Dolphins jersey.

"Probably anyone successful the Test team," Jones said.

"And if we tin get the remainder of the Test team… that would beryllium wonderful.

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"I truly don't cognize who's available, there's tons of fantastic players successful the competition. We truly haven't thought that acold ahead."

While determination hasn't been galore rugby league Test matches successful caller times, determination is simply a ample fig of planetary people players who Jones would nary uncertainty emotion to get his hands on.

The Dolphins tin statesman negotiating with players from November 1, but volition lone beryllium allowed to attack off-contract players - ones whose existent deals expire astatine the extremity of October adjacent year.

It's believed determination are 157 NRL players connected the marketplace astatine the extremity of this month. Here's the champion of them.

CHRISTIAN WELCH

The Melbourne prop has had an bonzer 2 years with the Storm, installing himself arsenic 1 of the champion forwards successful the crippled and earning a State of Origin jersey for Queensland successful the process.

Earlier this period rugby league Immortal Andrew Johns told Wide World of Sports helium would marque Welch a precedence signing if helium was moving the Dolphins, and would sanction him their inaugural captain.

Welch has go a person astatine Melbourne and would supply the Dolphins with a existent Maroons typical and a ready-made skipper.

Christian Welch of Melbourne. (Getty)

ANGUS CRICHTON

Crichton has established himself arsenic arguably the champion backrower successful the NRL, jumping into the void near by the retired Boyd Cordner astatine the Roosters this year.

He signed a short-term declaration hold with the Chooks and rumours persist helium whitethorn permission rugby league astatine the extremity of adjacent twelvemonth to prosecute an accidental of representing the Wallabies astatine the 2023 Rugby World Cup.

But careless of whether that's his program oregon not, Crichton tin beryllium approached by NRL clubs from November 1 and is apt to person respective suitors lining up, the Dolphins included.

JOEY MANU

Crichton's teammate astatine Bondi, Manu is among the champion fewer centres successful the crippled astatine the infinitesimal and volition bid a precocious terms connected his adjacent deal.

He's highly invaluable to immoderate squad fixed his quality to play centre, fullback, and five-eighth with adjacent class, arsenic shown for the Roosters this year.

Like Crichton, though, Manu has attracted involvement from rugby union and has the accidental to perchance play for the All Blacks successful 2023.

CODY WALKER

The South Sydney playmaker was arguably the champion five-eighth successful the NRL this year, and portion helium hasn't played a Test yet helium has represented the NSW Blues and Indigenous All Stars connected aggregate occasions.

Walker's halves partner, Adam Reynolds, has near the burrow and the erstwhile is yet to perpetrate to the cardinal and myrtle beyond adjacent season.

He besides formed a adjacent enslaved with Wayne Bennett astatine the Bunnies, and Bennett volition beryllium coaching the Dolphins successful their inaugural season.

Cody Walker of the Rabbitohs. (Getty)

BRANDON SMITH

The Melbourne wrecking shot was named the Hooker of the Year this play and is blistery spot connected the NRL market, albeit that his worth whitethorn person taken a deed owed to his engagement successful the caller achromatic pulverization scandal.

He's already attracted plentifulness of involvement from rival clubs but the Storm are hoping to clasp onto the nuggety No.9, contempt besides having Harry Grant connected their books, who immoderate see the champion young rake successful the game.

While Smith has played arsenic Melbourne's hooker this year, helium is arsenic effectual arsenic a tiny mediate forward, and tin play prop oregon lock.

REED MAHONEY

Speaking of hookers, Reed Mahoney is connected the marketplace and the Parramatta rake is simply a Queenslander, which adds to the entreaty of a determination north.

He was unlucky not to marque his Maroons debut this twelvemonth but he's not acold down Harry Grant and Brandon Smith successful presumption of being the champion young No.9 successful the game.

VILIAME KIKAU

The Penrith and Fiji backrower is built successful the mould of Titans beast David Fifita, and has the quality to interruption a crippled unfastened with 1 large play.

Kikau has already been the taxable of speculation successful caller months, with quality the Dragons are keen to lure him distant from the ft of the mountains.

The wage headdress compression astatine Penrith is apt to outgo the nine a fig of prime players, and Kikau whitethorn beryllium looking for a caller location earlier excessively long.

Wally Lewis pays tribute to Norm Provan

JOSH HODGSON

Another hooker connected this database but 1 that brings a wealthiness of acquisition and leadership, dissimilar a mates of the younger guys.

Hodgson is an England Test subordinate and was considered the 2nd champion rake successful the crippled down lone Cameron Smith conscionable a mates of abbreviated years ago.

His stocks fell somewhat this twelvemonth aft interior play astatine Canberra, erstwhile helium relinquished the captaincy and was past the taxable of rumours of a rift with manager Ricky Stuart.

The Broncos were funny successful acquiring his services if helium near the Raiders, but helium could good extremity up conscionable up the roadworthy astatine Redcliffe.

CLINT GUTHERSON

The Parramatta skipper is loved by Eels fans and is portion of the furnishings astatine the bluish and golden club.

But for the Dolphins helium would beryllium a prime fullback-utility, who brings enactment and imaginable captaincy credentials to the sunshine authorities successful a ready-made package.

Norm Provan dies aged 88

KALYN PONGA

Ponga's declaration is reported to person subordinate options for seasons 2023 and 2024 successful it, meaning helium could efficaciously permission the Knights astatine the extremity of adjacent twelvemonth if helium wanted to.

Like others connected this list, rugby national is chasing Ponga but the classy fullback has stated helium doesn't privation to permission the Hunter without winning a premiership for Newcastle.

He started his NRL vocation astatine the Cowboys and is simply a Maroons representative, truthful a Dolphins determination would beryllium a homecoming of sorts.

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