BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 27: Wayne Bennett poses for a photo with the revealing of the Dolphins Heritage Round jersey during a Dolphins NRL press conference at Suncorp Stadium on October 27, 2021 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

The second the clock ticked over into November 1st, the pressure was well and truly on for the Dolphins.

The NRL's new kids on the block were expect to land a big fish early on and then keep those signings coming.

We now sit (at the time of writing) on the 24th of November and the Dolphins are yet to officially announce a signing, outside of a train and trial rookie.

Tino Fa'asuamaleaui broke Dolphin hearts yesterday when he signed a massive deal to extend his time with the Titans. He was reportedly torn between the two Queensland clubs.

Christian Welch and Patrick Carrigan were reportedly heavily chased by the fledgling club but are now looking set to extend their time with current clubs.

If Brandon Smith shuns the Fins and lines up for the Roosters (or one of the other clubs chasing him) in 2023, the new boys would have missed out on all the reported marquee targets to date.

TOWNSVILLE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 23: Brandon Smith of the Storm warms up before the start of the round 19 NRL match between the North Queensland Cowboys and the Melbourne Storm at QCB Stadium, on July 23, 2021, in Townsville, Australia. (Photo by Ian Hitchcock/Getty Images)

On the surface, this can't be twisted as a positive, but it's certainly not the end of the world.

There is pressure on Wayne Bennett to deliver a roster that can compete for the top eight and beyond in their very first season. This is still possible, as long as they make the right decisions.

The Dolphins have a virtual blank chequebook to chase the likes of Smith, possibly Kalyn Ponga and beyond, but the one thing they cannot afford to do is panic.

I completely understand thoughts within the organisation that they need to announce a big signing soon. To a point, I agree.

That said, they cannot go out and throw stupid money and players just so they can get the monkey off the back, so to speak.

I cannot shake the feeling that it is coming.

Whether that be a $1.5 million a season to land Brandon Smith, or an equally eye-watering deal over a decade to try and tempt Kalyn Ponga away from the Hunter.

The Dolphins can create a buzz and attract media attention by paying 'overs' for a player, but it won't achieve a positive result in the long term. That needs to be the goal.

There are so many NRL players currently off-contract for 2023 and beyond. Literally millions upon millions of dollars in talent.

The urge is to rush in as though you were playing Football Manager and to sign big-name players, but patience is golden for the Dolphins.

Reports indicate Ryan Matterson is not going to be offered a contract at the Eels.

BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 03: Ryan Matterson of the Eels reacts to the loss after the NRL Qualifying Final match between the Melbourne Storm and the Parramatta Eels at Suncorp Stadium on October 03, 2020 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Jono Searle/Getty Images)

He's a 27-year-old with 120 appearances to his name and has long been on the fringe of a New South Wales Origin call up. He is the kind of player you could sign and announce right now.

Doesn't break the bank. Sign a player with a big name. 80-minute back-rower. Plenty of NRL experience. Ticks a lot of boxes.

No he's not Brandon Smith or Kalyn Ponga but he's a player who Wayne Bennett can get a lot out of both on and off the field.

I am confident that Wayne Bennett is the reason the Dolphins are yet to announce a string of signings.

He is the perfect coach to lead a new club. He's not going to allow excited staffers to throw around ridiculous numbers, but even the super coach himself may have a limit to his patience.

Jahrome Hughes, who has a player option in his favour, would be the ultimate signing to kick things off. That said, Hughes, via his manager, has said that the Storm remain in poll position.

That to me sends a "come and get me, but be ready to pay up" message.

The Fins could be forgiven for writing a record cheque to sign a premiership-winning half and smile throughout the entire process.

Then though, other plans have to change. That star centre they factored in may become a rookie. The five-eight they had put 800k aside for may become a 400k quality player.

These are decisions that need to be made but they don't need to be made right now.

The absolute worst thing the Dolphins can do is panic sign.

If they miss their target, then move on. I'm sure Bennett has a list of multiple options.

If Brandon Smith joins the Roosters, go chase Reed Mahoney then. He doesn't seem in any great rush to re-sign with the Eels without testing his value.

NRL Rd 8 - Eels v Cowboys
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 03: Reed Mahoney of the Eels passes during the round eight NRL match between the Parramatta Eels and the North Queensland Cowboys at Bankwest Stadium on July 03, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

There will be movements throughout the NRL season. There always are.

Big-name players will become available. Freak youngsters will emerge. There will be reports of the "next superstar" carving up the junior leagues.

I can still put together two NRL sides from the list of players off-contract as it stands. That's without doing research into reserve grade contracted players and also without having this season's movements to consider.

Yes, it would be incredible to see that "Official: Player x signs for ..." from the Dolphins social media accounts, but it has to be the right player at the right price.