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The Dolphins NRL team has continued its push to boost rugby league in Central Queensland during a visit to Rockhampton this week.

The Central Queensland Capras will become an affiliate team of the Dolphins next year, which will include support through the provision of NRL squad players to the Rockhampton-based club.

It will also involve a partnership between the Rockhampton Leagues Club and the Dolphins to install a fulltime game development officer in the region to grow the game.

These initiatives are in addition to the establishment of the schoolboy competition the Dolphins Cup, which will culminate this afternoon.

Dolphins’ head coach Wayne Bennett and chief executive Terry Reader joined Central Capras’ chief executive Peter White and head coach Lionel Harbin to celebrate the partnership this morning.

“This partnership will have great benefits for both the Dolphins and Central Queensland Capras,” Reader said.

“The designated game development officer will provide support for local clubs, parents and players in Central Queensland through skills clinics, coach education sessions, administrative support and the implementation of health and wellbeing education programs in schools.

“We will also have a major presence with the Central Queensland Capras by supplying them with coaching development, strength and conditioning expertise, and players from our NRL squad.

“These programs demonstrate that the Dolphins aim to be more than just an NRL club to the people of Central Queensland – we want to be part of the community.”

Peter White said the partnership would be a huge foundation for success for the game of rugby league in the region.

“This is a very exciting time for rugby league in Central Queensland,” White said.

“Through our partnership with the Dolphins our young men and women can now see a clear pathway to the NRL and beyond.

“We wholeheartedly welcome the Dolphins into our communities and look forward to a long and successful relationship.”

Bennett and the Dolphins’ contingent will this afternoon attend the finals of the Dolphins Cup, a schoolboy competition for under 15s and under 18s the new NRL club has instigated to save schools in the Central Queensland and Wide Bay areas from having to travel large distances for high-quality games.

The winner of the Dolphins Cup wins an automatic spot in the Queensland State semi-final against the North Queensland champions, with the victor of that match through to the Queensland final.