Highly respected rugby league administrator Brian Canavan has been appointed as the NRL’s new head of football.
Canavan will step down from his role as Gold Coast chief operating officer to succeed NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg in heading football operations at Rugby League Central.
Canavan has been a key figure in rugby league circles for two decades and Greenberg welcomed the appointment on Tuesday.
Greenberg said Canavan’s focus would be on “pathways, participation and game development”.
“Brian is one of the game’s best administrators and is well respected among the states and 16 clubs,” he said.
“It is an outstanding result for the game to secure someone with his expertise in such a crucial role.
“One of my priorities is to encourage more people to play rugby league and Brian will develop strategies to increase the participation level.”
Canavan has previously worked as the CEO of Sydney Roosters and conducted a review of the operations of the NSW State of Origin side after they suffered five successive interstate series defeats.
His loss to the Titans is a blow to the struggling southeast Queensland club.
“We are all extremely sad to be losing Brian. However, we are very happy for him personally that his talents and experience have been recognised by the NRL,” Titans boss Graham Annesley said.
Canavan said the move to the game’s governing body was an offer he couldn’t refuse.
“This opportunity to contribute across the broader game arose totally unexpectedly,” he said.
“But I will leave with the Titans a tremendous sense of optimism about the outstanding work that has been done to rebuild the club.”
Greenberg was promoted to NRL CEO in March.
Canavan will begin work with the NRL in early July.