New NRL club Dolphins make statement of intent with first signing

Wayne Bennett Dolphins NRL
Wayne Bennett will coach the Dolphins in 2023

Dolphins, the NRL’s newest club, have pulled off a major coup with their first recruit in the shape of Australia and Tonga international Felise Kaufusi.

Wayne Bennett’s side have have signed international test forward Kaufusi from Melbourne Storm on a three-year deal from 2023.

The 29-year-old will complete his eighth and final season with the Storm in 2022 before joining the Dolphins.

Kaufusi has won four caps for Australia and three for Tonga. He has played 12 times for Queensland in the State of Origin arena. He has made 152 NRL appearances, all of whom are for Melbourne.

Bennett said: “I’ve got a lot of respect for him and watched him play a lot of football.

“He’s a great professional. There’s not a lot of work [to put in] for him to play well, he’s just got that attitude.

“He’s come out of a great system in Melbourne, they produce a lot of good players and good results.

“That’s the type of person you want at clubs and in leadership groups.”

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Dolphins delighted to secure services of Felise Kaufusi

Dolphins chief executive Terry Reader said: “It is imperative the Dolphins build a squad that contains players of representative calibre and Felise certainly fits that mould.

“He has played 12 Origin matches for Queensland as well as representing Australia, so will bring some important experience to the playing group we are building to debut in the competition.

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“The fact that that he grew up in Bundaberg is also a positive for Queensland’s newest professional sporting team.

“Felise has been part of a very successful era for the Storm club in recent years, so we are excited about the leadership and strong work ethic he will bring to the Dolphins.”

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