New Broncos boss opens up on explosive Storm feud
New Broncos CEO Dave Donaghy has spoken for the first time about his explosive war with Melbourne, claiming the premiers haven't paid him in full and slamming suggestions he will commit NRL treason by sharing Storm secrets.
Donaghy is locked in a bitter dispute with his former club, which has threatened to block him from replacing Paul White at the Broncos until August.
White's decade-long stint as Broncos chief officially ends on Sunday and the delays in Donaghy's arrival could see Brisbane board member Neil Monaghan appointed interim CEO.
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Donaghy's seven-year tenure at the Storm ended when his contract expired on January 31.
The Broncos announced Donaghy's appointment as chief executive officer to the Australian Stock Exchange on February 3, without a start date as negotiations continued.
Donaghy's Storm contract included a six-month non-compete clause, which Storm chairman Matt Tripp is now threatening to enforce.
Melbourne has commenced legal action which would prevent Donaghy from taking the reins at Red Hill until August.
Breaking a four-month silence, Donaghy revealed his dismay at Melbourne's stance.
"I'm very disappointed Storm has taken this approach after an incredibly successful seven years with the club," he said.
"This is a very simple dispute. Storm says their restraint clause is enforceable, I say that it's not.
"I have given a number of undertakings to Storm stating that I have not and will not divulge any of their confidential information, if such a thing even exists in rugby league.
"Storm knows this, but apparently that is not enough. I am more than happy to protect Storm's information, but me not working for six months is not necessary to achieve that.
"Adding to my disappointment, whilst Storm has been quick to enforce what it says its rights are, they've been very slow to pay. They have still not paid my full contractual entitlements for 2020, which were due last year.
"Hopefully we will be able to find a resolution."
The ultra-successful Storm have proven to be tough negotiators across the board, regularly blocking players from leaving the club without adequate compensation.
With the Storm commencing legal action, Donaghy will need to argue that restraints on employees are unenforceable in Victoria. In that state, it is up to a company to demonstrate why they need to be enacted.
The Broncos believed Donaghy's guarantees to not divulge Melbourne's secrets or steal sponsors would be enough to see his non-compete clause waived.
It's believed Donaghy has no plans to poach any Melbourne staff or sponsors to join the Broncos, although Brisbane's current administration is chasing Storm coach Craig Bellamy.
The Broncos' pursuit of Bellamy as coaching director from 2022, and the club's interest in Storm legend Cameron Smith is believed to have fanned flames among Melbourne bosses.
Storm heavyweights are also of the feeling Donaghy's deal with the Broncos was struck behind their backs after they showed faith in one of the NRL's rising administrators.
The situation has now become so messy that it may have to be settled in the courts, leaving the Broncos without a CEO beyond this weekend following the end of White's 10-year tenure.
Originally published as New Broncos boss opens up on explosive Storm feud