Stunning details have come to light about Andy Marinos' sudden departure as Rugby Australia CEO, just four months out from the World Cup. Marinos announced this week that he'll leave his post next month, despite the CEO being praised for getting the governing body back in the black with a reported $8.2 million surplus.
Rugby Australia confirmed the news on Monday, saying Marinos wanted out to "pursue new opportunities". However reports emerged on Wednesday that Maronis wasn't happy about the amount of money the 15-man code gave Joseph Suaalii to jump ship from the NRL, as well as RA's pursuit of rugby league players in general.
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According to the Sydney Morning Herald: "Informed sources said Marinos did not agree with RA's aggressive pursuit of Suaalii, led by (chairman Hamish) McLennan, and the massive amount of money that was ultimately outlaid to get the youngster's signature. " Marinos reportedly "did not share McLennan's enthusiasm for chasing league players and argued the record Suaalii salary would inflate the market and subsequently force Rugby Australia to pay more to its other top-tier players."
Suaalii will link up with the NSW Waratahs at the end of the 2024 NRL season on a deal that's reportedly worth about $5 million. Former Wallabies player Stephen Hoiles recently said he believes Suaalii is worth every cent to Rugby Australia.
" He'll fill out every stadium six months before the British and Irish Lions come here (in 2025)," he said on Stan Sport. "People will be buying gold scarves like they used to 20 years ago at big Test matches. I think it's money well spent."
Andy Marinos' shock resignation as Rugby Australia CEO
RA board director and former Wallabies flanker Phil Waugh is believed to be the front-runner to replace Marinos, while ex-NRL boss Todd Greenberg, who heads the Australian Cricketers' Association, has also been linked to the position. Despite the World Cup kicking off in France in September, Marinos said he felt the time was right for a change.
"The foundations have been established and the business is now well-prepared to test the market for private equity investment, making it the right time for me to move on," he said in a statement. "Importantly, I will leave with the knowledge that RA is in a stronger position than when I joined, and proud of what has been achieved in my tenure as CEO."
Marinos, who previously worked at SANZAAR, joined RA in February of 2021, when the code had been ravaged by the commercial and operational impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. He steered the organisation from a $27.1 million loss in 2020 to an $8.2m profit in 2022.
Marinos also helped RA win hosting duties for the men's Rugby World Cup in 2027, as well as the women's edition for 2029. He was also responsible for bringing in Eddie Jones as Wallabies coach to replace Dave Rennie amid a high-performance review into the Wallabies' poor Test results in 2022.
McLennan thanked Marinos for his contribution, saying: "We asked Andy to draw upon his impressive career experience and extensive global relationships to re-establish rugby as a leading code in Australia - he has delivered on this and been fundamental in the turnaround of the business.
"Andy will leave RA having delivered several key projects, including the finalisation of the 2027 and 2029 Rugby World Cups, locking in the 2025 British and Irish Lions Tour, planning for a new contracting model for the professional game, implementation of strategy to professionalise Women's XVs Rugby, and a new four-year Collective Bargaining Agreement for our professional men's and women's players. On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank Andy for his contribution to RA. We wish him well with his future endeavours."
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