The NRL has expanded, and the Dolphins are coming.
That’s right, the Redcliffe – no, sorry, not Redcliffe. The Brisbane Dolphins – wait, not Brisbane. Okay, the Moreton Bay Dolphins. Actually, no, it’s none of those. A trick name then: Moreton Bay-Sunshine Coast Dolphins?
Wrong again. It is simply ‘the Dolphins’.
I don’t know why I expected anything different from the NRL. It is the league that tries to be all things to all people and often ends up nothing to anyone. Don’t get me wrong, the rest of the bid pitch seems excellent – the club has money, assets and links to the grassroots and has pledged to help build pathways for the game, all of which is what every rugby league fan should want from an expansion team.
So what’s in a name, right?
Without a name it feels fake, hollow and soulless. It feels like a marketing committee has created a brand that targets as many people as possible. In most business cases that is what you want. Still, sport is a unique business with oddities that make it stand apart from other products. Rugby league – and most team sports, for that matter – are based on geographical links and representation. Not having that as part of the club’s fabric gives the club a false and shallow feel.
If I had a crystal ball, I would predict in time that the Dolphins will end up playing most of their games at Redcliffe and a couple on the Sunshine Coast, with marquee games against the Broncos and a select few other clubs at Suncorp. And if this happens, will the club change its name?
Ultimately there is nothing wrong with accepting the fact that the Dolphins are not based in Brisbane and that calling the team by their location – either Moreton Bay Dolphins or the Sunshine Coast if they do play games there – and including that aspect into the name as well. In essence, the Moreton Bay-Sunshine Coast Dolphins is still better than the Dolphins.
Not having a name may be a silly complaint, but not allowing the expansion team to have a complete name feels completely disingenuous, and it can limit any tribal following it wishes to obtain.
Still, the Redcliffe Dolphins is a well-resourced organisation. I have no doubt they will be a successful club moving forward, and hopefully one day very soon they will rethink the no-name approach.