'Why on earth': Peter FitzSimons mocks NRL 'disrespect' during debate

Peter FitzSimons (pictured right) talking to The Dolphins CEO Terry Reader (pictured left) during an interview.
Peter FitzSimons (pictured right) hit back at The Dolphins CEO Terry Reader (pictured left) and the club for dropping their geographical base ahead of their NRL introduction in 2023. (Images: Channel Nine)

Former Wallabies player Peter FitzSimons has slammed the notion the new NRL team has dropped 'Redcliffe' from their title in a heated debate on television.

Last week, the NRL announced the 'Dolphins' would become the 17th team to join the competition in 2023.

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With the introduction of the Dolphins comes 12 extra games, allowing the schedule to extend into a 26th round, with two byes for each club.

However, the club sparked some concern this week when they announced they would drop reference to 'Redcliffe' from their title.

As recently as this week bid chief Terry Reader had confirmed the club would speak to their fans over a possible geographical name to go alongside their mascot.

Chairman Bob Jones also claimed on Wednesday what they put after the Dolphins moniker was still "open for discussion" and hadn't been decided yet.

But NRL CEO Andrew Abdo confirmed the new club would join the Warriors in not having a geographical label, in a bid to appeal to a larger area.

This is despite the 'Redcliffe Dolphins' competing in the Queensland premiership since 1947.

Dolphins CEO Reader spoke to Nine's Sports Sunday and explained the move.

“The Redcliffe Dolphins will always exist,” Reader said.

"But the Dolphins national brand differentiates itself from Redcliffe. The game has a massive opportunity to have a broader appeal, especially here in Queensland."

Peter FitzSimons hits back at 'disrespect'

However, FitzSimons wasn't having it.

He felt by cutting off the geographical location, it was a sign of 'disrespect' for a well-respected club with 74 years of history.

“OK, but I don’t want to let that go,” he added.

“You’ve got this proud history, you’ve been there since 1947, the great Artie Beetson played for you — why on earth, when you’ve got this glorious future in front of you, you hope, why would you cut off half your identity?"

Reader responded: "We’re certainly not cutting off the identity that will remain in the Q Cup and it’s part of our pathway up to many boys and girls getting the opportunity to play at the highest level."

"Our club will be more than just Redcliffe. Brisbane is bigger than just the CBD now. We happen to be situated in the fastest growing area in Queensland. Moreton Bay regional council is the third biggest regional council area in Australia linking with the Sunny Coast which is the fourth biggest.”

But, FitzSimons took exception to this comment.

“Just Redcliffe? Could you be more disrespectful of the town, the area that gave you who you are," he said.

"Just Redcliffe? What about Redcliffe, rah-rah-rah?”

The Dolphins logo is seen on the outside of the Redcliffe Leagues club on October 15, 2021 in Redcliffe, Australia.
The Dolphins started a debate when they decided to have no geographical base when introduced in 2023. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

The topic of coach Wayne Bennett was then raised with the super coach set to join the club in their inaugural year.

A meeting with Bennett came just two days after the NRL confirmed the Dolphins would be the competition's 17th franchise.

Bennett said he was 99 per cent sure it would come to fruition.

"There's a couple of things we've got to sort out but it's nothing major," the seven-time premiership coach told reporters.

"I'm 99 per cent sure we'll get it worked out ... we'll come back next week and finish it off."

When Reader brought up 'Wayne Bennett,' FitzSimons jumped in to joke: "Do you have to call him Wayne Bennett?”

“Just Bennett. Coaching the Dolphins. You don’t need the ‘Wayne’.”

After the interview, FitzSimons warned the NRL shouldn't follow rugby union's direction and have teams floating around without a geographical anchor.

with AAP

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