Shane Richardson, Cameron Smith, Frank Ponissi.
Shane Richardson, Cameron Smith, Frank Ponissi.

Storm v Rabbitohs: Feud erupts over Smith barb

Good old rugby league might be in lockdown but not even coronavirus can kill off old feuds.

The Melbourne Storm have launched a scathing attack on departing South Sydney Rabbitohs boss Shane Richardson with a two-word farewell message: Good riddance.

It comes from the club's normally mild-mannered general manager of football, Frank Ponissi, who has ­unloaded about Richardson's recent criticism of Cameron Smithand other insults over the years towards his club.

"He's always used the media as a platform for his opinions," Ponissi said.

 

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"And he's had many cracks at us over the years about how we play.

"He even once questioned our soul. We've been putting up with this but we've had a gutful now.

"A couple of weeks ago Cameron Smith gave an educated and thought-provoking opinion on the immediate future of the game during coronavirus. It was a debate being held all around the world in all sports.

Melbourne Storm's Frank Ponissi has come out swinging. Picture: Ian Knight/NRL Photos
Melbourne Storm's Frank Ponissi has come out swinging. Picture: Ian Knight/NRL Photos

"Then Richardson brands him as irresponsible. That was the last straw for us. How can he have a crack at a bloke who is more than entitled to ­express an opinion?

"Players are often bagged for saying nothing or giving cliche answers."

Richardson has for years attacked the Storm over wrestling and their general style of football.

Last year he said about the Storm: "Who invented the crusher tackle, who invented the chicken wing, who invented the rolling pin? It's not in the spirit of the game."

At the same time, his own player George Burgess got nine weeks for eye-gouging and Richardson described the suspension as a "tragedy".

Cameron Smith was criticised by Shane Richardson. Picture: Scott Barbour/Getty Images
Cameron Smith was criticised by Shane Richardson. Picture: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

 

Richardson has been copping it from all fronts since The Daily Telegraph broke the story last week that he was standing down.

There are now calls for the Rabbitohs to be more transparent around his departure deal because we're hearing it wasn't quite as "selfless" as some were making out.

There is talk Richardson was given six months' salary for the remainder of this year and another three months pay in 2021 to be a consultant.

When Richardson was quizzed about Braith Anasta raising the payout talk, Richardson responded: "Why does that not surprise me."

Souths boss Blake Solly said the matter was "confidential''.

 

Shane Richardson has been copping it since announcing his departure from South Sydney. Picture: Jason O'Brien/NRL Photos
Shane Richardson has been copping it since announcing his departure from South Sydney. Picture: Jason O'Brien/NRL Photos

 

It is big money at a time when all footy clubs are on their knees and other staff members are being laid off without pay.

Certainly a lot different to other senior figures in the game.

Trent Robinson at the Roosters and Paul Green at the Cowboys are on a pay freeze and have asked their chief executives to look after other more needy staff members.

Ponissi has no regrets about ­speaking out.

"As a game, we all need to stick ­together in times like this," he said.

"And usually there is a level of ­respect around long-term people leaving the game.

"Not here. I've got that many texts from people in our club saying 'good riddance'."

Originally published as Storm v Rabbitohs: Feud erupts over Smith barb


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