Defending AFL premiers Richmond will head into Friday’s qualifying final mourning former general manager Richard Doggett.
The 72-year-old died in an accident on his macadamia farm at Numulgi, north of Lismore, northern New South Wales.
The Tigers will wear black armbands as they start their finals campaign on Friday night against the Brisbane Lions, as a tribute to their 1980 premiership boss and his family.
Mr Doggett’s death came two days before the club celebrated the 40th anniversary of the grand final victory over Collingwood.
Police have declined to release details of Mr Doggett’s death on Friday, saying only that a report would be prepared for the coroner.
Tigers chief executive Brendon Gale said Mr Doggett’s death was a shock and a tragedy.
He had left the Tasmanian Football League to join Richmond as the marketing manager in 1978 before taking on the top job in 1979.
“It was the culmination of a golden era at Richmond,” Mr Gale said.
“They’d won five premierships in 13 years and the club was extremely successful and powerful both on the field and off the field, so Richard was running the club during the tail end of that period.”
Mr Doggett left the club in 1980 to pursue other interests, including working with billionaire Richard Pratt and Queensland Rugby League, before returning to the position in 1986 until 1988.
“The second period was a period when a great club, a very powerful club, was in decline and that created rifts in the club and at one stage a lot of players left, there were I think 37 pieces of litigation, the club had financial difficulties,” Mr Gale said.
“The club was in a period of decline, Alan Bond had just become president, it was a tumultuous time and it required all Mr Doggett’s experience and his capability to work his way through that difficult time, so two really important stints and at different ends of the spectrum.”
Macadamia industry remembers great ambassador
The Australian macadamia industry has also paid tribute to the chair of its peak body following Mr Doggett’s sudden death.
Mr Doggett served on the board of the Australian Macadamia Society (AMS) for a decade, six of those leading it.
Its chief executive officer, Jolyon Burnett, said Mr Doggett made a considerable contribution to the industry.
“Over the time that Richard’s been chair the membership of the AMS has grown, the financial security of the AMS has grown, but perhaps more importantly than both of the those things, I think, the prosperity and the regard in which the industry is held has grown.
“A lot of that is due to Richard’s commitment, his personality, his always looking for the good in people and the opportunity in events.”
Before moving to his farm at Numulgi nearly 20 years ago, Mr Doggett — who hailed from the UK — worked in numerous and varied jobs.
“I mean it’s really an opportunity for a celebration of a life lived to the fullest,” Mr Burnett said.
“He did enjoy growing things. He didn’t have a lot of trees by industry standards, but I think he took the same pride in seeing them grow and produce as all farmers do in their produce.”
Mr Burnett said Mr Doggett was a steadying influence in his own role.
“Richard’s counsel was always considered and careful and I think made me a better CEO over the time I worked with him as chair,” he said.
“It has been comforting to see how many people and from such a wide range of roles in the industry and outside the industry have sent their condolences and their sympathies. He left lifelong friends in every industry and endeavour he took up.
“Richmond Tigers have been particularly profuse in their praise of Richard and their memories of him, but from the Casino and all of his past endeavours we’ve had messages of condolences and grief, and from many of his friends overseas.
Condolence messages have flown in from the macadamia industries in China, Brazil, Malawi, South Africa and Hawaii.