General Manager of Football Shane Richardson when he signed Latrell Mitchell at Souths. Picture: AAP Image/Bianca De Marchi
General Manager of Football Shane Richardson when he signed Latrell Mitchell at Souths. Picture: AAP Image/Bianca De Marchi

A cold beer with . . . Top CEO with links to Ipswich

Michael Nunn

SHANE Richardson has enjoyed success wherever he has gone in rugby league.

Richardson has found a home everywhere from Langlands Park to Redfern and became the longest serving NRL CEO.

He was an Easts Tiger, Shark, Panther, Hull and then the Rabbits for 17 years. We sat down to talk about league and being a CEO.

It is a little known fact you went to Ipswich Grammar School for two years of your education.

Yes, that is true. Dad was a stockman at Cunnamulla so I got scholarship for two years to be a boarder at IGS. My family moved to Corinda and dad worked at the meat works and so I went and lived with my family again.

How did you end up president at Easts?

It was not a great time at Easts. I was coaching Reserve Grade and we were the best performing grade and came second last so I went to the board and said I wanted to help and ended up president.

I became president and brought Des Morris back to coach and then John Lang. We made three grand finals in a row in 1991, 92 and 93 and had great success.

I love the Tigers they are my Brisbane team.

Do you have a favourite Ipswich player?

Des Morris. What a player and what a man but do not discount Hugh O'Doherty either. It would be a close grand final between those two.

I played in Kilcoy in the Ipswich competition and they won the IRL premiership in 1965 over West End 10-5.

Ipswich are hard, fair. That is what you get from Ipswich. Plenty of battles out there, and Des "Tractor'' Tracey is one of my favourites too.

Do you consider yourself a Tiger, Panther, Shark or Rabbit?

I have been at South Sydney for 17 years and am still working for them just away from the coalface, which I am enjoying.

In my time, 84 CEO's have come and gone and I have not been sacked. It is a massive job now. I have enjoyed everywhere I have gone but Souths is probably my team.

However, we won a premiership at Panthers and went close in 1997 at Sharks. The Sharks gave me my start with John Lang. We were a package and came down to Sydney together.

Do you think it is possible to change the CEO role and make it separate from football?

That is what we have done at Souths. I was general manager of football and reported to the board and the CEO reported to the board on business and commercial interests.

The role is massive now. It is a very unique person that can be across both areas of the game. That separation of power is certainly what the big clubs in other sports do now.