THE imminent completion of Brisbane’s new $27 million training and administration base convinced outgoing Broncos chairman Dennis Watt the time was right to walk away from the club.
Watt announced he was standing down from the Broncos at the end of the year, after being involved as a director and then non-executive chairman since 2003.
Watt said with CEO Paul White in good health after his battle with a brain tumour and the club’s new Red Hill base near completion, he knew Brisbane was in good hands.
“It’s time. I set myself a two year target and the time’s arrived,” he said.
“Two years ago I set myself to work almost full-time on supporting Paul White through his brain tumour treatment. Paul is now healthy and in great shape and doing a great job.
“I also worked to help oversee the approval, funding and construction of our new $27 million headquarters at Red Hill.
“The building is going supremely well, and construction will be completed in mid-November. They were the big things I set myself and they will be out of the way.”
Watt has been on the board of the Broncos since 2003 and has established himself as one of the best chairmen in the game.
In February this year, The Courier-Mail reported that the Broncos — under the leadership of Watt and White — had recorded the biggest profit in the club’s history.
The $4.1 million surplus made the Broncos the NRL’s top commercial club and one of the most powerful brands in Australian sport.
Watt said he has loved his time with the club, particularly for Brisbane’s community work and seeing the impact it has had.
“It was a real privilege to be at such a great organisation, working with people who have a real and positive impact on the community,” he said.
“The Broncos are a great community champion … they are a real force for good out there.
“There’s a real core of decency within the Broncos. It’s a big-hearted organisation with big-hearted people who find something extra in themselves to be part of something bigger than themselves.”
Watt said he wants to stay involved in rugby league in some capacity when he leaves the Broncos.
Brisbane will now begin the search for a suitable candidate to replace Watt as chairman.
“I’ll just wait and see, but I’d like to stay involved in the game. I have a great passion for the game and what the game can do,” he said.
Before becoming chairman of the Broncos, Watt was with News Corporation Australia — publishers of The Courier-Mail and owners of the Brisbane Broncos.
He held the position of general manager of rugby league for News Limited between 2010 and 2013, when News also owned the Melbourne Storm.