Shane Richardson slams rumours of rift with Wayne Bennett, Blake Solly, South Sydney Rabbitohs

Outgoing Rabbitohs football boss Shane Richardson has slammed reports suggesting his exit was due to a souring relationship with club CEO Blake Solly and Wayne Bennett.

Just days after the NRL announced that the 2020 season was postponed, Richardson became the first major casualty of the coronavirus shutdown when he made the choice to forgo his salary and stand down to help South Sydney survive the financial crisis.

While reports suggested that Richardson’s exit from the club was due to failing relationships with powerbrokers at the club, the former CEO said the rumours couldn’t be further from the truth.

“It’s just rubbish. I’ve never seen such crap in my whole life. That’s why I don’t read the papers,” Richardson told Nine Radio.

“At the end of the day, the reality is I brought Blake to the club from the Super League, he was my recommendation to come to the club.

He’s a great man and a great friend of mine. His wife and my wife are very close.

“Wayne Bennett, I never knew Wayne before he got here (and) we’ve become really close over the last 18 months. It couldn’t have been a stronger relationship.

“We couldn’t be where we are today if we weren’t combined together and working towards one goal.

“It’s absolute rubbish and you have to put up with that over your lifetime and it’ll be one of the things I don’t miss.

“At the end of the day, I’m comfortable with the decision I’ve made. The club is in a really good position going forward.

“We’ve got some great people, including Blake and Wayne, to lead us forward. We couldn’t be in a better place really.”

Richardson stunned the NRL community on Thursday afternoon, when he ended his 16-year tenure with the Rabbitohs via a statement.

“In times like these, leaders have to step forward and lead,” he said in the statement.

“When we were reviewing things with [CEO] Blake [Solly] early in the week, it became very clear to me on Tuesday that I needed to step down. The cost of having me remain in the football department was one of our largest costs and as a club we need to cut the cloth to suit the suit.

“I made the decision on my own, it’s my decision, and then I informed Blake, the board and [owner] Russell [Crowe]. No one pushed me into this decision. It became very obvious to me that this was a decision that needed to be made for the next 18 months for the club.

“I’ll remain on as a consultant to the club to assist in different areas where they see the need and this will be a part-time arrangement.”

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