The Dolphins have signed Thomas Flegler on a whopping four-year deal reported to be worth around $3 million, and while fans will claim the front-rower is overpaid, it's good business by the club.

The NRL's newest side suffered an absolute stinker maiden recruitment drive, snaring several experienced forwards on the wrong side of 30, and a backline languishing in the reserve grade last season.

Flegler's deal is worth an estimated $750,000 per season, $150,000 per year more than his current club the Brisbane Broncos were willing to offer the front-rower on an extension.

It begs the question - is the prop worth what the Dolphins are paying him?

In short, no.

But is it a good move by the Dolphins to pay Flegler that much to lure him to the club?


The club is crying out for a marquee signing, and while Flegler or Brisbane Broncos' team-mate Herbie Farnworth might not be 'that guy', building a young, talented, attractive roster is what will lure them.

Head coach Wayne Bennett missed out on key signatures Cameron Munster, Reece Walsh, Kalyn Ponga and Brandon Smith, leaving a predicted spine of Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, Anthony Milford, Sean O'Sullivan and Jeremy Marshall-King.

While all have their days, it's a lacklustre spine in comparison to their rivals.

Widely tipped for the bottom four or even worse, the Dolphins are desperate, and Flegler's $3 million deal isn't too overvalued if you take into consideration more than just the on-field aspect.

As solid recruits come, more and more players look at the 17th NRL club, and it becomes more attractive. It's a scary prospect coming to an untested club with little view on where their roster stands, or will stand in a year or two's time.

They aren't the first club to be stuck in that position, the Newcastle Knights are a prime example.

Winning three consecutive wooden spoons from 2015 to 2017, it's little surprise the club was failing to recruit a marquee star over that time period.

Who would want to join a side where a last-placed finish is more than just a possibility?

The Knights forked out big to lure teenage prodigy Kalyn Ponga on a $600,000-per-season deal, a massive contract for a kid who had played just two NRL games at the time, and neither in his preferred position of fullback.

But with Ponga on the way, more players saw the bright future Newcastle had potential for, leading to the signatures of Mitchell Pearce, Connor Watson, Aidan Guerra, Slade Griffin and more for their 2018 season, and all of a sudden, it was a landing spot once more.

The Wests Tigers are in a similar boat, you think Apisai Koroisau was signed on peanuts?

However, the Concord-based club had to make the move, not just to lure an Origin star and premiership-winner to the club, but to convince others to follow suit.

Now, they're welcoming Isaiah Papali'i, John Bateman and David Klemmer for 2023 alongside the superstar hooker.

It takes that singular leap of faith on a big-money deal to turn a club around, or at least the first step.

Sam Burgess and Greg Inglis get the majority of credit for South Sydney's 2014 premiership, but where would they be if they hadn't lured Roy Asotasi across in 2007?

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 14: Greg Inglis (L) and Sam Burgess (R) of the Rabbitohs celebrate victory at the end of the round 23 NRL match between the South Sydney Rabbitohs and the Brisbane Broncos at ANZ Stadium on August 14, 2014 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

Every gigantic leap starts with that first run-up step, and Flegler is the Dolphins'.

The Dolphins' current forward pack is experienced and will set the training standards, but with five of their eight forwards aged 30 or older, they can only do so much.

They need young blood like Tom Gilbert and Flegler to follow in the veteran's footsteps, and the better they grasp that the more opposition players will start entertaining the idea of jumping ship.

While the new club won't gain Flegler's services until 2024, they have another eight months to recruit for next season. However, with that first step taken, it's time for rival stars to make the leap.


  1. Flegler is a prop. Farnworth is a centre.

    “Lazy Davy” is a second-rower. Irrespective of how goof (or not) he is, another second-rower is not what the Broncs need.

  2. Wayne will help Flegler get the rubbish out of his game without losing his aggression and become close to the best in the League in his position.

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