Moments after Todd Greenberg officially received the nod as NRL CEO, Wayne Bennett issued a sobering warning.
“He will have to pay a price to lead this game,” the Brisbane master coach said.
There was much back slapping on Friday after Greenberg was unveiled as the new CEO, ending a worldwide search to replace Dave Smith.
Here was the man who would bridge the gap between disgruntled clubs and the NRL hierarchy.
Here was the footy tragic who would provide the NRL heart after a mixed four-year term by former Welsh banker Smith.
But Bennett – who had seen it all in almost 30 years in the league – couldn’t help but provide a reality check.
“I am pleased for Todd (but) he has a great challenge ahead of him,” Bennett said.
“I hope he is up to it.
“It wears a lot of people out, that job.”
Asked if the NRL had the right man, Bennett said: “He’s the right man if he gets it right.
“You have to understand that leadership sometimes comes at a price.
“He will have to pay a price to lead this game – there are a lot of factions in the game.”
But Bennett agreed Greenberg’s background as a former Canterbury CEO would help him negotiate the tough task ahead.
“He has been a CEO of a club so I think that is pretty important,” he said.
“He understands the game. That is an important quality.”
Bulldogs chairman Ray Dib believed former employee Greenberg was “destined” to be NRL CEO.
“It’s just his presence, his cool and calmness when it came to adversity,” Dib told AAP.
Dib expected Greenberg to hit the ground running.
“I think the first 100 days will just be to get some calmness back in, get some stability with the clubs and the Commission and start working together,” he said.
“The CBA agreement is going to be his first project, and he’s got the clubs (funding) agreement so he’s got a lot to start off with.
“There won’t be much time to settle down.”
Penrith general manager Phil Gould believed Greenberg was up to the challenge.
“Todd comes into the role with eyes wide open,” he told AAP.
“He knows how football clubs operate.
“He is also very aware that not all clubs are equal.
“He will build relationships with clubs and, in doing so, work with them to build a better game.”
Greenberg’s popularity was evident – from the raucous applause that greeted him at his Sydney media conference on Friday to the endless endorsements from club bosses.
NSWRL chairman George Peponis tried to sum up the secret to Greenberg’s success.
“He may not agree with you, but he will listen to you,” he said.