Critics bagged Dave Smith for his perceived lack of rugby league smarts.
But Queensland Rugby League boss Rob Moore hopes the next NRL CEO follows Smith’s example and has a business – not a football – mind.
NRL heavyweights Todd Greenberg and Shane Richardson head the list of candidates to replace Smith who will end his three-year reign on November 30 while Australian Rugby League Commission chairman John Grant said on Tuesday he would conduct a worldwide hunt for a replacement.
Eyebrows were raised by the controversial recruitment of Smith in 2013 from the banking industry.
He didn’t do himself any favours with the infamous “Benji Barba” gaffe at his first season launch.
Nor could he name Australian Rugby League captain Cameron Smith at his first media call.
But QRL boss Moore says he hopes the next NRL CEO is also known for his business acumen not his football nous.
“Without a doubt. There are enough employees in the game with a football mind,” he told reporters.
“We need more people in the game with that business acumen behind them and understand the role the game has in business.
“You could argue that you need someone with some knowledge in the game but I would debate that.”
Gold Coast boss Graham Annesley, NSWRL CEO David Trodden and Penrith’s Warren Wilson are other contenders but Moore has quickly ruled himself out of the running.
Former AFL boss Andrew Demetriou has also reportedly declined to consider the position.
Smith may have copped flak for not “getting” the NRL fan but Moore claimed the outgoing league boss did something in Queensland during his tenure no previous Sydney-based bureaucrat has achieved.
“He went all over the place, he found out what was happening at grass roots level.
“That was the first time an administrator from Sydney had ever done that.”
Asked how Smith’s reign will be remembered, Moore said: “It depends on who you talk to.”
However, Moore was hopeful the next NRL CEO shared Smith’s view of Queensland.
“I am disappointed to see him go because we had a really good relationship with Dave,” he said.
“There is far more rigour in decision making in the game (in Smith’s reign), decisions aren’t all biased toward NSW as they were in the past you could argue.
“We would hope whoever comes in for that job takes the same view of Queensland.
“We gave up a lot to form a commission and expected to get something back.”
It is believed Smith’s departure may fast track NRL expansion with a southeast Queensland team expected to get the nod.
Grant said there were provisions in the 2018-22 free-to-air agreement for a 17th team to come from Brisbane.