South Sydney’s celebrity owner Russell Crowe has reportedly saved its general manager of football Shane Richardson from a messy exit from the club.
In a bombshell report, Fox Sports’ chief NRL reporter James Hooper writes that Richardson was in danger of being knifed late last year but for the intervention of Crowe.
According to the report a Rabbitohs board meeting late last year discussed Richardson’s exit but was stopped when Crowe got wind of it.
Richardson has been a powerful figure at the Rabbitohs almost since the club’s readmission to the NRL in 2002.
He took over the CEO role in 2004 and held that position right up until a one-year stint at the NRL in 2015, where he was head of strategy and game development, before returning to Redfern as South Sydney’s football boss in 2016.
According to the Fox Sports report, there is friction behind the scenes at the Rabbitohs with several influential club figures butting heads.
The report clarifies that Richardson and Wayne Bennett deny being at loggerheads but there is a theory that the football department is top heavy.
Richardson was integral in building the roster that won the 2014 NRL premiership and has been central to negotiations in the recent big name signings of Jai Arrow and Latrell Mitchell.
The report claims that issues between Richardson and Mitchell’s manager Matt Rose during negotiations to lure the star fullback had contributed to the tension at Redfern.