The Dolphins clearly haven't moved on from the disappointment of missing out on Cameron Munster, after taking a hilarious dig at the Storm playmaker on social media.
Munster was a prized free agent before he recently recommitted to the Storm, with the Dolphins believing they were in the box seat to land the Australia and Queensland five-eighth.
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The 28-year-old eventually signed a four-year extension with Melbourne on less money than he was being offered by the Dolphins, who had reportedly tabled a four-year deal worth around $5.6 million.
Munster's snub left Dolphins coach Wayne Bennett fuming at the time, with the master coach offended by the fact the player didn't call him personally to inform the 72-year-old of his decision.
It was a bitterly disappointing outcome for Bennett and the Dolphins, who have aggressively pursued key players ahead of their NRL debut in 2023.
The subject was even brought up in a funny promotional video that Dolphins officials released on social media, in which the NRL newcomers couldn't resist having a crack at the playmaker.
The Dolphins are ramping up their social media presence ahead of their debut season, and released a video on social media in which their mascot 'Phinny' the Dolphin is busy setting up a group chat for the team.
Phinny can be seen creating the group '#PhinsUp', where he adds a number of foundation players including Felise Kaufusi, Jamayne Isaako, Mark Nicholls and Euan Aitken.
The name 'Cameron Munster' is then added to the group chat before Phinny follows it up with the word 'oops', before removing the Storm five-eighth from the chat.
— The Dolphins (@dolphinsnrl) October 31, 2022
Cameron Munster was close to leaving Melbourne
Munster, who is in England for the Rugby League World Cup, this week told the Daily Telegraph just how close he came to leaving the Storm, before a frank conversation with coach Craig Bellamy convinced him to stay in Melbourne.
"I was done. (Chairman Matt Tripp) and the owners and the club knew that. I kind of told Craig (Bellamy) that if he wasn’t staying on, I was going," Munster said.
“He reassured me that he was probably going to have one more year and who knows, he might keep going. Who knows with him. That was one of the turning points.”
Originally for Munster, the challenge of helping build something new with the Dolphins had been an alluring prospect, but that changed after the 2022 NRL grand final.
Penrith's back-to-back triumphs stirred a competitive fire in Munster, reaffirming his decision to stay in Melbourne.
“I thought I might as well go and challenge myself somewhere else – then I saw how Penrith won the final and went back-to-back, and how competitive they have been,” Munster said.
“I felt like I wanted to be competitive and play finals football. I felt the best chance to win another premiership was in Melbourne.
“Regardless of who is going to be the coach or the coaching staff, Melbourne is probably the place to get the best out of myself.”
Bennett was left unhappy with Munster after claiming the Storm star had "gone missing" during their negotiations to sign him, and that the player's manager Braith Anasta had been the one to break the news to the veteran coach about his decision to snub the Dolphins.
"It's pretty ordinary stuff. I understand about managers and all that and there is a need for him. But what I struggle with is the fact that the players, all the tough conversations that you have to have are missing," Bennett said at the time.
"They don't ring you up and tell you they are not coming. That's a tough phone call none of us want to make. If you want to be a man then you've got to behave like one and (not) have your manager ring up and tell (us) you're not coming."
Munster joins Harry Grant, Jahrome Hughes, Ryan Papenhuyzen, Xavier Coates, Justin Olam and Christian Welch all signing long-term deals to stay at Storm until at least the end of the 2025 season.
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