How Singleton and Beetson got it right on Dolphins

Rugby league benefactor and businessman John Singleton once told Arthur Beetson in 2010 that a Redcliffe-based NRL team would be a success, even if he wouldn't financially back it.

"If Arthur had got the contract at the time he would have got money out of me anyway. Anything Arthur wanted...," Singleton told AAP, as he reflected on why his late great mate Beetson was so prescient and why Wayne Bennett was the perfect fit as Dolphins coach.

"Just thinking about it now, I'd just love to have a beer with Arthur and Tommy (Raudonikis) and sit in the grandstand and watch (the Dolphins) play," Singleton continued.

"Particularly with Benny coaching because both of them were such a fan of the man...Wayne Bennett. They'd both had the great coaches. Arthur had that great relationship with big Jack (Gibson) of course.

"Benny, like Jack was, becomes a totally involved part of his players' lives forever, right from the time they play for him.

"Not all (coaches) will be able to say when they check out that their players will still be talking about them as people, as humans, as men."

The emergence of the Dolphins in the NRL fulfils a vision Beetson wrote about in his autobiography.

He won a Brisbane Rugby League premiership with the club in 1965 and finished his playing days at Redcliffe in the early 1980s - a club as dear to his heart as the Sydney Roosters where he won two premierships in 1974-75 under Gibson.

In 2010 Beetson spoke to Rugby League Week (RLW) magazine about why he believed the Dolphins were a perfect fit for an NRL side.

He asked the magazine to pop the question to his friend Singleton about whether he would put some of his cash behind it, as he had with Newtown in the late 1970s. Singleton, who still sponsors the Jets, had helped turn Newtown from wooden spooners to NSWRL 1981 grand finalists after recruiting their mutual friend Raudonikis.

When RLW approached Singleton in 2010 he had bad news, and good news, for Beetson.

It was a 'no' to funding.

"I am no longer interested in ownership," Singleton said.

Singleton had been given the run around by administrators after sinking a fortune into his bid for a Central Coast NRL side and was in no mood to part with more of his hard-earned. He'd also previously had his bid to own the Broncos thwarted by Lachlan Murdoch.

"In summary, he out-smarted me. That's what gave me the shits," Singleton told AAP this week.

It was, however, a gigantic 'yes' to Beetson's vision for the Dolphins

"How crazy is it that there is only one team in Brisbane? There is no chance of another team not working in Brisbane. I love Redcliffe and I love Arthur," Singleton said in 2010, before outlining why two teams could play out of Suncorp Stadium in a huge boost for broadcasters.

His overall assessment of the Dolphins was the same as Beetson's, who offered this summation of the Redcliffe landscape: "The bottom line is that Redcliffe have got everything in place - their own field, their own leagues club and strong juniors...and there are around three million people living in Brisbane and on the Sunshine Coast.

"They could share Suncorp until they could redevelop their own field at Redcliffe, but they can't do it without corporate sponsorship and the support of someone big."

The Dolphins had laid the base for financial security and they proved they could do it without Singleton's money.

Singleton was full of praise for the Dolphins and said the new NRL club had staged a coup by securing Bennett as their inaugural NRL coach.

"He is the key," Singleton said.

"They will be competitive and once Wayne has a few wins - it won't take many - every win will be greeted in Queensland like an Origin win."

Singleton's love of Redcliffe has deep roots and involves his close friend Forrester Grayson who was one of the Dolphins' toughest players in the 1970s.

Singleton once had a night out with Grayson at the Redcliffe League Club where he tried to recruit him to Newtown, and woke up a rodeo promoter.

"Forrester tells me that Wayne (Bennett) has been using him a bit up there at the Dolphins. If you wanted someone to preach toughness, and Arthur and Tommy weren't available, you'd go to Forrester," Singleton chuckled.

"I once went out with Forrester. I woke up with a contract to (promote) rodeos in my pocket. I got to ride in them too. I didn't know that.

"I was on the circuit. I was in the world and Australian titles. We got the biggest crowds at the Sydney Showgrounds since the Empire Games in 1936. I got more pain and injuries from that than 50 years of being a 10th rate footballer.

"I was supposed to be conning Forrester into coming to Newtown and somehow he conned me into putting on rodeos."

Wild times aside, all these years later though, Singleton's prediction for the Dolphins proved he was right on the money.

"For once," Singleton chuckled.