Skip links and keyboard navigation

    Media Statements

    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Housing and Public Works, Minister for Digital Technology and Minister for Sport
    The Honourable Mick de Brenni

    Retiring rugby league chairman leaves legacy

    Minister for Housing and Public Works, Minister for Digital Technology and Minister for Sport
    The Honourable Mick de Brenni

    Tuesday, February 20, 2018

    Retiring rugby league chairman leaves legacy

    Minister for Sport Mick de Brenni has paid tribute to a proud Queenslander who took on the toughest job in rugby league and charted a new course for the game in Australia.

    “Retiring Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) chairman John Grant – a former Kangaroo, ICT industry guru and successful sports administrator – leaves a lasting legacy for the code,” said Mr de Brenni.

    “Tagged a ‘token Queenslander’ in 1972 by the southern press, John was the only player named in that year’s World Cup squad who was still living north of the NSW border,” he said.

    “Of course, we know today there was far more to this bearded three-quarter from Brisbane Souths than initially met the eye – he was in fact the embodiment of the key Queensland qualities of pride, passion and perseverance.

    “These qualities led to John, in 2012, taking the reins of Australian rugby league’s new central governing body, leading the game into a new era of opportunity with his considerable corporate experience, enormous integrity and unbridled tenacity

    “Under his stewardship, rugby league in Australia has become safer and fairer on field and off, with effective concussion management rules, a robust club funding model, and support for development of women’s rugby league.

    “And the results speak for themselves – back to back World Cups for the women’s national team.”

    Mr de Brenni said Mr Grant had displayed the quintessential Queensland spirit back in his days playing with Souths Logan Magpies under supercoach Wayne Bennett, who at the time was experimenting with sound recordings of artillery fire in the dressing sheds to pump up his players before a big game.

    “John displayed Queensland’s fighting spirit as an Australian representative alongside fellow icons of the game including Arthur Beetson, Bob Fulton, Graeme Langlands and Ray Branighan.

    “He displayed it wearing the Queensland jumper against New South Wales, long before the days of State of Origin, and on his representative tours of New Zealand.

    ‘And it shone through him when he played for English club Warrington during their table-topping 1972-73 season, during which they lost just one game.

    “Queensland’s fighting spirit still shines in every State of Origin and through every member of Queensland’s Palaszczuk Government, and its impact in rugby league will continue through the appointment of the new ARLC chairman, former Queensland Labor Premier and Gold Coast Commonwealth Games Corporation chairman, Peter Beattie.”

    Mr de Brenni – whose Ministerial portfolios include Housing and Public Works as well as Digital Technology – said Mr Grant earned his engineering degree at the University of Queensland before working for four years as a public sector engineer, where he developed his passion for the then-emerging industry of information technology.

    “John’s passion for IT led to him landing a position with the multinational IBM and eventually buying into the firm that evolved into Data 3, which formed supply agreements with governments across Australia and of which he eventually became managing director,” said Mr de Brenni.

    “He was also influential in driving the NRL’s $150 million digital strategy to future proof the sport, ensuring fans can watch games from their mobile devices, and providing opportunities to grow the game in Australia.

    “John is often referred to as a Captain of the IT industry – he a former chairman of the Australian Information Industry Association and, since 2008, a member of the industry’s ARN Hall of Fame.

    “Even today John freely admits that all the lessons learned as a Queensland and Australian representative footballer have served him well in business – discipline in the face of adversity and, above all, that determined Queensland spirit that means never giving up.”


    Media contact: Cat Milton 0410 644 113