The Cumberland Throw

Instant Reaction – Greenberg Steps Down

Queue the cliche – “The drums have been beating…”

Todd Greenberg’s resignation from his NRL CEO position late this afternoon has come as little surprise to anybody remotely familiar with rugby league. Once again, when there’s “noise” around a big story in the NRL, it invariably comes to fruition.

Many years ago, during Greenberg’s time at the Bulldogs, the media touted him as the future NRL CEO. They knew his future then and once again they’ve correctly predicted his fate. Have the journos have been reading between the lines, or has there been an insider tipping this outcome? The punters can make up their own mind about that.

Greenberg (photo AAP)

Regardless of how this has come about, it would appear that Greenberg lost any remnants of support. As the weeks unfolded, mainstream media and footy supporters teamed up and hunted him down like police swarming on a non compliant swimmer at Bondi.

Accused of overspending during his time at the helm, Greenberg has now become the face of the NRL’s financial woes. In trying to gain the confidence of the bosses out in club land, as well as the code’s broadcast partners,  Greenberg was pushed into the background during recent planning.

Every media appearance by Peter V’Landys seemed to be an unofficial statement that Greenberg was no longer relevant.

How will Greenberg be best remembered? What legacy does he deserve? The creation of the NRL’s digital arm and the most recent broadcasting deal could be seen as feathers in his cap. The bunker has its detractors, but it’s probably here to stay. Unfortunately, overseeing an organisation that couldn’t withstand a couple of months of hardship would not be something he’d want to hang his hat on.

More importantly, where does his departure leave the game?

Interim CEO, Andrew Abdo

With the NRL set to reboot with changes aplenty, this was possibly an ideal opportunity to either appoint or test drive a new CEO. Andrew Abdo has been handed the reins in an interim capacity, and with the media now espousing his credentials, perhaps we should highlight his name as a leading candidate.

This time can be the dawning of a new era for the game. It will bounce back, because the support for rugby league won’t disappear. As soon as a football is kicked around again from May 28, or whatever date eventuates, the audience numbers will explode.

Not too far down the track, there will be big decisions to be made.

We will witness a restructuring of NRL HQ, and there’s likely to be pain aplenty out in club land as jobs are lost and the landscape changes. Strong leadership will be needed. There needs to be a path taken which rights the ship in the short term, then sets sail with a clear vision for the future. The communication to key stakeholders, especially supporters, needs to be low on spin and high on substance.

Early indications are that Peter V’Landys will insist on accountability.

And if accountability becomes the culture within the new administration, it’s a solid foundation to build from.

Eels and NRL forever!


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Sixties, i have been waiting for this to be posted. While i am ok with him stepping down / resigning, my issue is the replacement. As you correctly pointed out he ‘was touted’ by some as a future leader when at C’bury. I recall saying back then that he was in the job at C’bury for not long and promoted too soon, for whatever reason and that was the error then. He always spoke like a politician and to me never came across as someone to trust. He may be a different person altogether but there were too many decisions… Read more »


Michael Jordan is really topical at the moment and to me a quote from him sums up why I think Greenberg had to go. Jordan said on leadership, “ Nothing of value comes without being earned. That is why great leaders are those who lead by example first. You can’t demand respect because of a title or position and expect people to follow. That might work for a little while, but in the end people respond to what they see”. What did I see from Greenberg that ultimately made his position untenable. Inconsistency. The punishments given out under his leadership… Read more »

John Eel

Shelley the inconsistency is a very good point. For someone who spoke a lot about inclusiveness and respect for women he let down one of the player partners while at the Dogs


I think you will find his inconsistencies were for the same reason; to keep power. At the bulldogs he needed a certain magical outside back to be in the side for them to win and him to look good. So he turned a blind eye. At the NRL he needed league big hitters and leading players to support him so he shifted and changed his views depending on what club and or what player was involved. Remember when he allowed the integrity unit to support the titans giving Proctor 4 weeks and the Storm giving Bromwich 2 weeks when they… Read more »


Agreed on this John; i recall that press conference he did back and he referred to the player as being ‘ill or sick’ yet it seemed to be swept away.

John Eel

Milo I agree with what you have said especially the political stuff other than the bit about the NRL CEO needing to come from the ranks of club CEO. I think that can be a disadvantage and it certainly was for Todd. I think that he was handicapped from the start by working for two appalling heads of the Commission in Grant and Beattie. That did not help him. I think you raised some good points but he had a lot of short comings for a person on his pay scale. He was indecisive and often went into political speak… Read more »

John Eel

I thought I did


Thanks John and you have highlighted more issues that he has been in charge of. The Inglis one never ceases to amaze me….and our salary cap issue i was deliberately leaving out as it causes too much pain John.

John Eel

Lol 😂


NRL can be confusing for a CEO. A minority sport hemmed in by 3 other football codes in Australia and by a global game internationally. By any measurement it is a niche ‘product’( just made myself sick saying that). Going grand isn’t a strategy in the niche world, I think NRL lost its discipline in this respect. We screwed out more revenue, and splashed it around but where is the genuine growth in the game? A CEO always wants to take his/her organisation to the promised land, be rewarded emotionally and financially, and write a book about how wonderfully this… Read more »

Colin Hussey

I am not surprised at his leaving the job, no matter how he left or what were the real reasons overall, maybe the aspect is that he had too many areas in his role that he was in the end over his head as far as abilities are concerned. The word inconsistencies has been mentioned by most, and I have to agree with that up to a point where he was quite consistent in his inconsistencies. What I believe makes all of that area pale up to a point where I considered him to be totally aloof to hearing reasoned… Read more »


For mine Greenburg’s resignation has many shades of grey. Positives – Greenberg has been harshly judged as the architech of the NRL’s parlous financial position where I think clubland should shoulder much of the blame. Yes arguably there’s too many people at NRL HQ but Greenberg has delivered significant revenue growth; costs have grown in-line with this revenue growth. Clubland have consistently demanded the distribution of near to all surplus including in Jan/Feb when Greenburg wanted to send the FY18/19 surplus of $30m to the future fund, the clubs fought & nail. – Greenberg delivered improved concussion protocols, expansion of… Read more »

paul taylor

I never rated Todd because he always felt like he jumped into the popular camps and didnt have the strength to say no. These type of leaders surround themselves with lots of people, lots of committees , lots of processes and structures. This makes the decision making process deluded down. In the end it is a ‘ joint decision ‘ supported by the Boss. Vlandys is completely opposite. He is very much a boss in the old school stamp. He asks for evidence, he looks at the pros and cons and makes a timely decision. I remember in the early… Read more »

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