Todd Greenberg’s seemingly inevitable ascension to the NRL chief executive role has been welcomed across rugby league as good for the game.
Greenberg is expected to be officially rubber-stamped as the new CEO any day, ending a five-month search to replace Dave Smith.
It’s believed the respected NRL head of football has been given the game’s top job, beating out Accor Hotels boss Simon Grath after being the front-runner for the position since ARL Commission chairman John Grant announced a “global search” for Smith’s successor in October.
The former Canterbury CEO has been heavily involved in the NRL since taking over the Bulldogs’ top post in 2008.
He moved to league headquarters in 2013 after securing Des Hasler as Bulldogs coach from Manly in a significant coup.
“Todd will do a great job out there,” Hasler said on Thursday.
“He’s one that’s been groomed for the job and he’ll have the support out there from the clubs.
“His portfolio and experience are impeccable and he knows his way around rugby league. He knows where the pitfalls are and he presents well.
“It seems the game is coming up to a new collective bargaining agreement over the next two years. They’ll need someone with his experience to fulfil those deals.”
Parramatta coach Brad Arthur agreed.
“I like Todd, so I think he’ll do a great job,” Arthur said.
The move was also welcomed in the playing ranks through St George Illawarra veteran Benji Marshall.
“The good thing about Todd is he is well known around football circles and the job he’s done at the Bulldogs and the job he is doing at the NRL is outstanding,” Marshall said.
Greenberg fulfils both of the NRL’s criteria for their next top dog – that he have a corporate background as well as rugby league experience.
Upon Smith’s resignation, Grant hinted Greenberg was at the head of the queue, saying he was encouraging internal candidates to put their hands up.
“We purposefully brought on people in Dave’s tenure as CEO who could potentially be successors to him over the long term,” Grant said at the time.
“That was the plan. In our search for his replacement, it’s an internal and external search and we’re hopeful internal candidates stick their hand up. The end job for the Commission is to get the right person.”
Greenberg’s first order of business will be to clean up the mess engulfing Parramatta, who have been accused of illegally courting third-party sponsors for their players.
Under NRL rules, all third-party sponsors must be at arm’s length from the club and Parramatta chairman Steve Sharp and his board are now under pressure to stand aside following several reported allegations of improper salary-cap dealings.
He is likely to also be required to sort out the confusion over players making contact with referees following Canterbury forward David Klemmer’s exoneration at the NRL judiciary on Wednesday night.
Greenberg is well respected in league circles and has been the driving force behind several important changes to the game since taking over as head of football, including the introduction of the bunker.
He was also responsible for helping to turn around the Bulldogs, moulding them into a powerhouse both on and off the field.
Unlike Smith, who came under fire for being out of touch with clubs and the game, Greenberg is seen as having his finger on the pulse.