Greenberg to bring back NRL soul

The money man showed us the money, now the footy man will show us the game.

The ARL Commission (ARLC) on Friday unveiled Todd Greenberg as the new NRL chief executive, almost five months after starting a worldwide search to replace previous boss Dave Smith.

And Greenberg’s first priority will be to win back the game’s soul, which some would argue was lost three years ago when the banker with little league expertise was hired.

But others would say Smith more than did his job – to the tune of a historic $925 million free-to-air rights deal signed off last October – in what was a mixed four-year term under his guidance.

Now the onus is on Greenberg to build a better game.

To that end, he’s already off to a great start, with the widely acclaimed $2 million refereeing bunker – Greenberg’s brainchild – hailed as a masterstroke over the opening fortnight of the season.

Greenberg is also considered an articulate media man, both willing and able to front up for what ARLC chairman John Grant labelled the “toughest corporate job in Australia”, due to unforgiving Sydney media.

“It’s just his presence,” Greenberg’s old boss, Canterbury chairman Ray Dib, told AAP.

“He has an ability to work with the media, the fans and have a good relationship with players and coaching staff. The guy is as resilient as they come.”

But it’s his six years spent rebuilding Canterbury that singled him out against contender Simon McGrath, the chief operating officer from Accor Hotels, when the Commission made its decision this week.

It’s an attribute that is certain to place him in good stead with the hungry wolves in clubland, one of whom describes Greenberg as an out-and-out league man.

“He knows the business, football and media landscapes extremely well,” Penrith boss Phil Gould told AAP.

“He knows how football clubs operate and the challenges they face. He is also 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.”

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