The Broncos and Storm are at war over Craig Bellamy and the battle has claimed an unwitting pawn in new Brisbane CEO Dave Donaghy.
The Broncos and Storm are at war over Craig Bellamy and the battle has claimed an unwitting pawn in new Brisbane CEO Dave Donaghy.

New Broncos boss in crossfire as Bellamy war explodes

Broncos chairman Karl Morris has defended the club's handling of the CEO transition as it emerged Dave Donaghy has been caught up as a pawn in Brisbane's battle with Melbourne for Craig Bellamy.

Donaghy's stoush with the Storm is headed for the courtroom next week unless he can strike an agreement with Melbourne over the non-compete clause that has derailed his appointment as Brisbane's new chief executive officer.

Current Broncos CEO Paul White will officially vacate the Red Hill hotseat on Sunday, bringing an end to his 10-year tenure as Brisbane boss.

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Dave Donaghy’s start date as Broncos CEO has been delayed. Picture: Adam Head
Dave Donaghy’s start date as Broncos CEO has been delayed. Picture: Adam Head

The Broncos were hoping Donaghy could start early next month, however that will not be the case unless a truce can be reached with Melbourne bosses in the coming days.

Brisbane board member Neil Monaghan will step in as interim CEO if the Donaghy debacle continues.

The six-month clause threatens to keep Donaghy out of the Broncos job until August, a term Brisbane did not expect to be enforced.

And it has emerged Brisbane's pursuit of Bellamy could be influencing Melbourne's doggedness to impose the clause.

The Broncos have offered off-contract Storm supercoach Bellamy a role at Red Hill from 2022, fuelling tensions between the traditional powerhouse NRL clubs.

 

Bellamy has a similar clause in his current contract and there is a feeling the Storm's stance on Donaghy is a warning to what could follow if the Melbourne coach signs with Brisbane.

The Broncos announced Donaghy's appointment, without a start date, on February 3 and Morris insisted he had not bungled the signing.

"We haven't done anything wrong," he said. "Paul White is the CEO and Dave will start at the appropriate time. We haven't breached anything.

"Dave finished his contract at the Melbourne Storm at the end of January. Melbourne did not renew his contract. He is currently not being paid by anyone.

"It is an issue between Dave and Melbourne Storm. It has nothing to do with the Broncos."

Broncos chairman Karl Morris says the club hasn’t bungled Dave Donaghy’s appointment. Picture: Peter Wallis
Broncos chairman Karl Morris says the club hasn’t bungled Dave Donaghy’s appointment. Picture: Peter Wallis

Donaghy was expected to settle the spat with the Storm privately, however the case is now on the verge of an ugly courtroom battle which could take months to resolve.

The Broncos have a well-staffed executive team to control the club if Donaghy isn't cleared to start, but that would not be an ideal situation with the NRL season to kick-off in less than two weeks.

After a decade in charge, White said he hoped the Donaghy drama was sorted in a timely fashion for the reigning wooden spooners to start their redemption campaign.

"I just want to see the club do well," White said. "The quicker that can be resolved, the better. That would be everyone's preference, not just mine.

"I am comfortable with the people in and around the club, the board and particularly the executive team. In 2015 when I (was diagnosed with brain cancer) they picked up the slack and rose to the next level. They are a terrific group.

"We are well placed and a mature organisation."

 

Originally published as New Broncos boss in crossfire as Bellamy war explodes