Expansion is officially going ahead in 2023.
The NRL locked in the competition's rise from 16 to 17 teams on Wednesday morning, with the Dolphins to enter the competition, beating out the Brisbane Firehawks and Brisbane Jets for the new licence.
It's the first time the NRL have expanded in 14 years, with the Gold Coast Titans the last team to join the competition.
While the Dolphins are widely known as the Redcliffe Dolphins, they have elected to remove Redcliffe from their name, with the public set to vote on the eventual full name of the new team.
Despite the competition going to 17 teams, each team will continue to play 24 games across the course of the season, with the competition expanding from 25 to 26 rounds. Each team will receive two byes throughout the season, with the stand alone Origin weekend also set to be scrapped.
All up, an extra 12 games will be played throughout the course of the season, with all of them expected to be played over the Origin period, also this information has, as yet, not been confirmed by the NRL. The total number of games goes from 192 to 204.
In 2021, four games were played before Origin 1 and 3. Now, it's understood Origin 2 will also share the workload, with each of the three weekends expected to have either six or seven games played, meaning in some instances, only three teams will have a bye without their Origin stars playing.
The Dolphins will join all other teams in being able to recruit off-contract players for 2023 from November 1, creating what will be an intense battle for signatures.
Wayne Bennett is expected to be announced as the club's inaugural coach in the coming days.
Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter V'Landys said it was important for the game to expand further into Queensland.
“Today is an exciting moment in the history of our game. The NRL Telstra Premiership will expand to 17 teams in 2023 and on behalf of the Commission I would like to congratulate The Dolphins on being granted the 17th licence," V'Landys said.
“I would also like to acknowledge and thank the other bid teams for the work they put into their submissions. All three bids were of the highest calibre and highlight the strength of rugby league in Queensland.
“The key to long term success is growth. By growing the NRL Telstra Premiership we create more fans, encourage more participants and increase commercial investment in rugby league.
“Expansion is also a really important part of our participation strategy. It will be a condition of the licence that the Dolphins spend $2 million every year on participation and growing the women’s game in Southeast Queensland. Our focus over the next year is revitalising our participation strategy and The Dolphins will be an important part of that in Queensland.”