Finally, after 18 years as boss, Peter Doust finally shuffled out of his office for the last time.
The St George Illawarra CEO, the longest serving club boss in the NRL, had his final official day at the Dragons yesterday.
Doust oversaw the early days of the fledgling club after the merger of the St George Dragons and Illawarra Steelers, with the joint venture club winning one premiership in his almost 20-year tenure.
Doust has been one of the most polarising figures in rugby league. His retirement will likely be welcomed by sections of the club’s fan base who have long called for his resignation, with the infamous “oust Doust” banners once conspicuous on the hill at Jubilee Oval.
One of Doust’s greatest achievements was attracting legendary coach Wayne Bennett to the club in 2009, with Bennett going on to end St George’s 31-year wait for a premiership a year later.
He also oversaw the protracted deal for WIN Corporation to partially privatise the club, potentially securing their long-term financial future.
Georges River Council mayor Kevin Greene paid tribute to Doust at a council meeting on Monday night.
“Perhaps the best tribute to Peter’s success in the role is that he is by far the longest serving CEO amongst the 16 NRL clubs. Peter’s passion for the game and particularly the Dragons I’m certain started at birth as his father Laurie was a long-term St George rugby league official,” Greene said.
“Peter has never shirked a challenge and while the 2010 premiership success is undoubtedly the highlight of his resume I think it is fair to say his maintenance of the Dragons as a consistently successful football team in a tough, competitive environment is a more long-term tribute.
“Former Kogarah councillors will recognise that many of the major infrastructure improvements at Jubilee Stadium were the result of Peter’s negotiation of Federal and State Government funding. His doggedness is well-known.
“I’m sure all councillors will join with me in thanking Peter for his service to our district and wish him well in retirement.”