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.
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?
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!