Dave Donaghy is the new Brisbane CEO. Picture: AAP Images
Dave Donaghy is the new Brisbane CEO. Picture: AAP Images

Bitter dispute ends: Broncos win war over Donaghy

Brisbane have won the war over Melbourne with the Broncos finally securing the signature of Storm chief executive Dave Donaghy.

News Corp Australia can reveal Donaghy has agreed to terms with the Broncos and will officially sign an employment contract on Thursday - bringing to an end an explosive and at times bitter contractual dispute with NRL rivals the Storm.

The publicly-listed Broncos are expected to make an official announcement about Donaghy's appointment to the Australian Stock Exchange on Wednesday.

The former sports journalist will start at Red Hill in March, with current CEO Paul White to finish his decade-long tenure at the end of this month.

Storm chairman Matt Tripp lashed the Broncos last year as the club pursued Donaghy and Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy, labelling the NRL's richest club an embarrassment, and vowed to enforce a non-compete clause that would keep Donaghy out of work until August.

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Dave Donaghy is the new Brisbane CEO. Picture: AAP Images
Dave Donaghy is the new Brisbane CEO. Picture: AAP Images

But the Broncos have secured Donaghy's release, with the Storm boss set to replace White at Red Hill next month ahead of Brisbane's season opener against the Eels on March 12.

Breaking his silence on the high-level saga, Brisbane chairman Karl Morris confirmed the Broncos had lured Donaghy to his home state Queensland.

"We are delighted to have an experienced NRL CEO like Dave joining us," Morris said.

"Dave is returning home to Queensland with his family and will bring some great knowledge to the Broncos."

Donaghy is a former News Corp and Australian Associated Press journalist who held media and communications roles at the Brisbane Lions and Storm before ascending to the CEO ranks.

He spent a total of 10 years employed at the Storm across two stints and has departed the club after Melbourne's 2020 NRL premiership triumph.

Donaghy lived in Noosa last year after the Storm were forced to leave Melbourne and relocate to the Sunshine Coast during the second wave of COVID-19.

Dave Donaghy is locked in at the Broncos. Picture: Michael Klein
Dave Donaghy is locked in at the Broncos. Picture: Michael Klein

He is now back in Brisbane with his young family and will take on the Broncos' top job on the back of the club collecting last year's wooden spoon.

Donaghy's signing ends a bitter spat between two of the NRL's top clubs.

Tripp unloaded on the Broncos last year for attempting to steal Donaghy and Bellamy, who is off-contract at the end of 2021.

Bellamy has been offered a coaching director's role by the Broncos supporting head coach Kevin Walters.

"I understand and appreciate they have a process to run and I don't blame them for wanting to go after the best talent in the game," Tripp said.

Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy and Dave Donaghy address the media. Picture: AAP Images
Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy and Dave Donaghy address the media. Picture: AAP Images

"To try to run off the playbook of the Melbourne Storm is one thing, then to go after the captain, coach and chief executive is a little bit boring and shows a lack of creativity from a supposed powerhouse. They are embarrassing themselves.

"Whatever happened to promoting from within or employing your own people to do a job? God knows they have enough people up there in Brisbane to pick from.

"We have put a lot of work into Dave. We gave him his first chance as a chief executive. I expect Dave to stay at the Melbourne Storm, renew his contract and repay the faith."

Originally published as Bitter dispute ends: Broncos win war over Donaghy



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