Newly appointed NRL CEO Todd Greenberg wants a quick but not rushed resolution of the Parramatta salary cap investigation and has ruled out any medium term expansion of the competition.
Greenberg’s ascension to the top job was widely expected and acclaimed after proving himself as Bulldogs CEO and NRL head of football.
He said he wasn’t looking to make fundamental changes as the game was in “phenomenal shape.”
Greenberg wants to continue the momentum over the past five months during which the NRL secured its biggest broadcast deal, settled on a “groundbreaking” distribution model with their clubs and had $1.5 billon of investment earmarked for stadia.
He said concluding the salary cap investigation into the Eels was a priority of the NRL integrity unit and he realised people wanted a swift decision.
“We won’t be rushed to do that, yes we want to do it quickly, yes we’d prefer to be doing it and talking about the football, Greenberg told AAP.
“I’ve always maintained the view that fans will hold us to account on is how we handle these issues, not on the issues themselves.”
He said the docking of points and fines were potential punishments if Parramatta were found guilty of infractions, but was reluctant to comment on the current case until all the facts had been established.
Greenberg wasn’t immediately interested in increasing the number of competing clubs from 16 and stressed the NRL was more concerned in the short to medium term with sustaining some of the current ones who are struggling.
Wests Tigers, St George Illawarra, Gold Coast and Newcastle are all receiving NRL support.
“Expansion is not something we’re talking about,” Greenberg said.
“We’re very focused on our 16 clubs and making sure they are strong and secure – that’s our immediate focus.
“We’re about to provide a new funding distribution model for our clubs which will see them better equipped to handle the challenges than they’ve ever been before, so it’s now up to the clubs to realise their opportunities.
“We don’t to be owning clubs in the long term.”
Greenberg said his priorities were to get more people playing and watching the code.
He revealed he had spoken earlier on Friday to predecessors Dave Smith, David Gallop, Neil Whittaker and John Quayle, as well as Kangaroos captain Cameron Smith and Jillaroos counterpart Steph Hancock.
He sent all NRL players a video in which he vowed to put the game first and stressed he would continue to consult them, as he had when seeking opinions about the bunker, shot clock and interchange issues.
Greenberg described his post as a once-in-a-lifetime job and himself as a humble guy with a strong desire to see the game achieve its potential.
“I wouldn’t describe myself as a visionary, nor do I think I’m a guy with all the ideas,” Greenberg said.
“But I think I’m a leader who lifts people up, a leader who empowers others to do their job and supports them, holds them accountable along the way and somebody who can bring the game together to realise our potential.
“Leadership is not about popularity, if you want to be popular, I’m in the wrong job.”
“I think we’re at a really key moment in the game’s history where we can bring people together.”
Interim CEO and ARL commission chairman John Grant said Greenberg was the standout candidate from over 30 local and international applicants for what he described as the toughest corporate job in Australia.