The Dolphins are intent on building a solid pathway program for junior players to progress into their NRL system.
While there is plenty of public attention on the playing roster that will represent Queensland’s newest professional sporting team when they enter the 2023 NRL competition, the Dolphins are already working hard on ensuring the best talent from their local area and across the state has a chance to progress to the elite level.
Dolphins’ Head Coach Wayne Bennett has brought in Kurt Richards to design and implement the process in the Head of Pathways role.
Richards began in the player pathways sphere 20 years ago as a teacher at famed rugby league school Keebra Park High.
He spent 13 years at the Brisbane Broncos, including a stint as assistant coach of the NRL team.
Along the way he has been a vital part of the Queensland Emerging Origin program, coaching the Queensland under-16s and under-18s, and is the Maroons’ current under-19s coach.
Richards is already in the process of designing the pathway process, which will not include players having to leave their junior club to be part of the Dolphins’ system.
“It’s a unique opportunity to build something from scratch and to form an academy pathway that will really complement the NRL program that Wayne (Bennett) will put together,” said Richards, who started with the Dolphins earlier this month.
“The pathway program is about developing local players and giving them the opportunity to progress right through the academy pathway to play NRL here at home for the Dolphins.
“But we also want to clear up the misconception that you have to be playing with Redcliffe to be part of the pathways program.
“We encourage players in the local community that play for Burpengary or play for North Lakes or Albany Creek to stay and play with their mates.
“There is a pathway here and you never know when your opportunity will come.”