New Tigers boss Richardson makes pitch to Panther Luai

Newly installed Wests Tigers chief executive Shane Richardson has wasted no time going on the charm offensive, adamant the NRL club can lure Jarome Luai away from Penrith.

Barely 24 hours after taking the job, Richardson set out his ambitions for the Tigers on Wednesday with Penrith five-eighth Luai front and centre of his vision. 

The veteran administrator was parachuted in to replace Justin Pascoe, who resigned from his role on Tuesday. 

Wests Tigers chief executive Shane Richardson says he's a big fan of recruitment target Jarome Luai.

Pascoe’s exit came after a boardroom revolt claimed the scalp of outspoken chairman Lee Hagipantelis. 

Pascoe and Hagipantelis have presided over a club that has picked up the last two wooden spoons and hasn’t played finals in 12 years.

But Richardson, who previously took South Sydney and Penrith from the NRL doldrums to premiership glory, insisted he wanted to make Luai a Tigers player in 2025. 

Off-contract at the end of next season, three-time premiership-winning five-eighth Luai is one of the most sought after targets on the open market and recently met with rookie Tigers coach Benji Marshall.

"I've made my feelings on Luai known for a long time," Richardson said.

"In my opinion, he was the best young half coming through.

"Not only that, he’s a great team leader. That Penrith side revolves around Luai.

"He’s a great person off the field despite what many media people like to try to make out.

"You couldn’t meet a better person than him and you couldn’t ask for a better person at the club.

“I’m not across it yet, so all I want to do is assist Benji to put together the best roster possible.”

Jarome Luai of the Panthers.
Wests Tigers hope to lure three-time premiership-winning five-eighth Jarome Luai from Penrith.

Richardson’s overtures came as Luai’s former Penrith teammate Stephen Crichton was unveiled as a Canterbury player and urged the Panthers No.6 to prioritise his family.

Canterbury, like the Tigers, have been linked with a move for Luai. 

But Richardson bristled at suggestions Luai and prop Addin Fonua-Blake, who will leave the Warriors on compassionate grounds at the end of 2024 to return to Sydney, wouldn’t view the Tigers as an attractive proposition. 

Vowing that Marshall would have the final say in recruitment decisions, the new chief executive said his resume showed he could attract top-line talent to struggling clubs. 

“Why did a player want to come to Penrith when we had won the wooden spoon and all the senior players had wooden spoons put in their letterboxes?,” Richardson said. 

“At Souths when we lost every weekend and the abuse … both those clubs went on to win premierships.

“At the end of the day, they (recruits) want to be part of building a club to greatness again. You can’t put boundaries on it.”

Richardson, who will begin work on January 2, said he viewed the club’s future breeding ground as the Campbelltown region.

The new chief executive, who has been appointed to the role for just six months, said he wouldn’t make a judgement on the future of David Nofoaluma until he had got his feet under the desk.

The winger - the Tigers’ all-time leading tryscorer - has been involved in a dispute over his treatment at the club. 

“I haven't met David, I don't know him from a bar of soap so I'm not up to date with the situation,” Richardson said.

“I don't want to pre-empt what’s going on there all I know is this, the way I work is very simple - firm, fair and polite.”

License this article

What is AAPNews?

For the first time, Australian Associated Press is delivering news straight to the consumer.

No ads. No spin. News straight-up.

Not only do you get to enjoy high-quality news delivered straight to your desktop or device, you do so in the knowledge you are supporting media diversity in Australia.

AAP Is Australia’s only independent newswire service, free from political and commercial influence, producing fact-based public interest journalism across a range of topics including politics, courts, sport, finance and entertainment.

What is AAPNews?
The Morning Wire

Wake up to AAPNews’ morning news bulletin delivered straight to your inbox or mobile device, bringing you up to speed with all that has happened overnight at home and abroad, as well as setting you up what the day has in store.

AAPNews Morning Wire
AAPNews Breaking News
Breaking News

Be the first to know when major breaking news happens.

Notifications will be sent to your device whenever a big story breaks, ensuring you are never in the dark when the talking points happen.

Focused Content

Enjoy the best of AAP’s specialised Topics in Focus. AAP has reporters dedicated to bringing you hard news and feature content across a range of specialised topics including Environment, Agriculture, Future Economies, Arts and Refugee Issues.

AAPNews Focussed Content
Subscription Plans

Choose the plan that best fits your needs. AAPNews offers two basic subscriptions, all billed monthly.

Once you sign up, you will have seven days to test out the service before being billed.

AAPNews Full Access Plan
Full Access
  • Enjoy all that AAPNews has to offer
  • Access to breaking news notifications and bulletins
  • Includes access to all AAPNews’ specialised topics
Join Now
AAPNews Student Access Plan
Student Access
  • Gain access via a verified student email account
  • Enjoy all the benefits of the ‘Full Access’ plan at a reduced rate
  • Subscription renews each month
Join Now
AAPNews Annual Access Plan
Annual Access
  • All the benefits of the 'Full Access' subscription at a discounted rate
  • Subscription automatically renews after 12 months
Join Now

AAPNews also offers enterprise deals for businesses so you can provide an AAPNews account for your team, organisation or customers. Click here to contact AAP to sign-up your business today.

Download the app
Download AAPNews on the App StoreDownload AAPNews on the Google Play Store