Thomas Flegler at training with the Dolphins.
Wayne Bennett didn't need to say much to persuade Thomas Flegler (pictured) to join the Dolphins. Image by Darren England/AAP PHOTOS
  • rugby league

Bennett’s four magic words that made Flegler a Dolphin

Joel Gould January 9, 2024

Prop Thomas Flegler has completed his first team training session with the Dolphins and revealed the four words from Wayne Bennett that convinced him to leave the Brisbane Broncos.

The 24-year-old was a teenager at the Broncos in 2018 when Bennett was in his final year at the club but he had little to do with the master-coach at the time.

Bennett’s recruitment pitch to lure Flegler away from the Broncos, with whom the forward made his Queensland and Australia debuts, was predictably minimalist.

“Wayne is pretty blunt. He just said, ‘Tom, we want you’,” Flegler said.

“He is probably the greatest coach in the game. With a resume like that he doesn’t need to say too much to get people over the line.

“To be able to come here and get a year with him will be outstanding for me.

“(In 2018 at the Broncos) I was playing Queensland Cup. He was great, but I didn’t have a lot to do with him. I didn’t play under him.”

Thomas Flegler at training with the Dolphins.
 Thomas Flegler (centre) is put through his paces during his first full Dolphins’ training session. Image by Darren England/AAP PHOTOS 

The Dolphins have put together a forward pack that appealed to Flegler and proved another recruitment magnet.

At the Broncos, he was part of a youthful group of forwards that also included Payne Haas, Pat Carrigan, Jordan Riki and Brendan Piakura.

Flegler said he had always admired from afar experienced former Melbourne Storm trio Jesse Bromwich, Kenny Bromwich and Felise Kaufusi – now he gets to play alongside them.

“Not every forward pack has players like that, with the experience they have,” Flegler said.

“That was probably the biggest thing that got me over the line.

“Jesse has got front-rower of the year many times now. The Bromwich brothers and Felise have been in premiership-winning teams and played for their country. They are going to be awesome to learn off.

“Hopefully one day, when their time comes to an end, I can step into their role.”

Jesse Bromwich in action for the Dolphins.
 The chance to play alongside Jesse Bromwich (pictured) was a big draw for Flegler. Image by Jono Searle/AAP PHOTOS 

Flegler was a key figure in the Broncos’ surge to the 2023 grand final. He is keen to return to that arena and be part of the first Dolphins side to play finals football.

“Last year we didn’t have too many expectations,” Flegler said of the Dolphins.

“I wasn’t here but we have now established ourselves and we want to be a top-eight team.

“The grand final is the ultimate goal but we have got to take baby steps to get there. A top-eight finish is our first goal.”

The Broncos will find it tough to replace Flegler’s aggression and competitive drive but it is not an issue that is on his mind. He’s a Dolphin now.

“I don’t really care. It is not my problem. I don’t care what happens there,” he grinned.