The National Rugby League has appointed Shane Richardson to a development role, ending his 11-year role as CEO of the South Sydney Rabbitohs.

Richardson will be involved in developing strategic game-related projects that support growth across all forms of the game and creating opportunities for future growth.

“We have built tremendous momentum over the past couple of years and there has never been a more important time for this role as we head into the next broadcast and digital rights deals,” NRL CEO Dave Smith told nrl.com.

“This initiative is all about working on strategic game-related projects across the organisation that are focussed on identifying further opportunities for growth, and creating modern structures, that set the sport up for decades to come.

“As a game, we have taken big steps forward in unlocking the potential in Rugby League and that was just the start – now there is an opportunity for even better things to happen.

“We have a very clear objective to keep building long-term value in Rugby League to ensure we are well placed to secure our future as a major and valuable sport so that we can keep reinvesting in the game.

“It is a sign of the game’s maturity that we are now in a position to ensure a focus on projects that have the potential to be game changers and set ourselves up for the future.”

Mr Richardson has been involved in the game for more than 50 was excited at the opportunities ahead in his new role.

“I have been involved in the game for more than 50 years either playing, coaching or in administration in Australia and the United Kingdom,” Mr Richardson told nrl.com.

“I am excited about the opportunity to bring that experience to the NRL at such a critical time in its evolution.

“There are big things happening in Rugby League and this role gives me the opportunity to be part of it right at the centre so that I can make a difference to its long-term future.”