Rabbitohs boss: NRL must ‘stop the greed’
Departing South Sydney football boss Shane Richardson has implored everyone involved in the NRL to "stop the greed" after dropping his bombshell decision to quit.
The veteran administrator said he had not decided what his next career step would be but did not rule out potentially working for another NRL club or even the game's governing body.
But that didn't stop him delivering a blunt assessment of how the game has been governed in recent years, and he called on the leaders to "do the right thing".
Richardson said if he could leave behind one piece of advice it would be this simple: "Stop the greed."
"You have to make decisions to keep the game going for the next 100 years.
"They have to now make those decisions. They are very obvious. They are very easy to make. But people don't want to make them and they don't want to make them for all the wrong reasons."
Richardson has already stated he thinks the competition should be cut back from 16 teams.
Four years back Richardson was employed at the NRL and did a blueprint on what direction the game should head in but his plan was shot down before the last player collective bargaining agreement.
He maintains his plan was the right plan but self-interest ruled.
"We gave all the money to the clubs, 130 per cent," he said.
"We put ourselves in bankruptcy from the word go.
"What business in the world goes into a new deal and has to borrow $49 million just to pay the bills?
"No one is going to be able to take the hit that we have now (as a result of the coronavirus) but it didn't put us in a strong enough position.
"But the beauty of it is that we are in a position now where we can recalibrate and do the right thing.
"It is up to the leaders of the game to do that. Do the right thing."
Asked if he would consider a return to the NRL, he added: "I don't want to make comments about that.
"As I said, I spent 12 months of my life putting together a plan to try and change the way people viewed the game.
"It was a plan based on finances … but at the end of the day they didn't want to implement it.
"You have to make tough decisions to get the game back on its feet and I hope there are some people who can make them."
Richardson conceded he had made up his mind to walk away from Souths when he did an emotional interview on NRL 360 on Tuesday night.
But he didn't tell South Sydney chief executive Blake Solly, the board or owner Russell Crowe until Wednesday. He then told coach Wayne Bennett on Thursday and the staff.
"My career in not over," Richardson said.
"I will just move on to something different now. It is just that my career is over at Souths.
"I have got a lot of desires, I am not burnt out or anything like that."
He said going through the heartbreaking process of letting staff go brought him to his own realisation it was time to go.
"When I sat down and looked at the numbers it didn't take me long to work out we were going to have to make some changes and the first change would be me," he said.
Richardson has had one of the most successful careers of any administrator in the modern era.
After coaching and playing in Queensland, he formed a strong alliance with Johnny Lang at Brisbane Easts before they took charge of Cronulla in the early 1990s.
They took the Sharks to a grand final in the 1997 Super League season, won a comp together at Penrith in 2003 and then revitalised South Sydney before Lang left and Michael Maguire secured the drought-breaking premiership in 2014.
"I have had a wonderful drink out of rugby league. I have loved every minute of it," Richardson said.
Originally published as Shane Richardson: NRL must 'stop the greed'