Todd Greenberg has been formally announced as the NRL’s new CEO today in probably the least surprising Rugby League news we will see this side of NSW selecting Mitchell Pearce at halfback.
It is funny that the NRL’s “world wide” search for a new CEO, that saw them spend a lot of money to find the right person, ended up settling on the bloke sitting in the next room. Still, lets take a look at a decision which, while it may seem boring, is the right way to go for the game.
For many, many years now, even when he was running the Canterbury Bulldogs, Todd Greenberg has been mentioned as a possible future leader of the game one day. He has experience running a big club in a crowded marketplace, he has faced on and off field issues at that club that he handled well, he has even dealt with issues out of left field fairly well also. To put it bluntly, Todd Greenberg has seen a lot of shit happen in Rugby League, and he has experience in working through problems at club level.
When he moved to the NRL Greenberg got a taste of what it was like to run the game at a different level. There was always talk that Greenberg was the NRL administrations connection to what was really happening in club land. He was always seen as someone who had his finger on the pulse of the game.
Greenberg didn’t move into the NRL’s administration to hold a role in the background. His eye has always been on that prized position as the NRL’s CEO. Keep in mind, this is a position very few people actually want! It is one that forces you to front the media often every time the media creates a crisis or every time a footballer has too much to drink. It is a thankless job. A difficult job. One that doesn’t allow for days off, for time off the clock. It is a 24/7 grind that throws different situations at you, on top of being the CEO of a billion dollar entertainment industry and, most importantly, a sport.
Greenberg wanted this job. He worked towards it for years.
With that in mind I can’t help but wonder…if not now…when?
Greenberg is young and hungry. He wanted this position. He is ready for it. Had the NRL overlooked him this time he may have looked elsewhere to further his career. He may have hung around as part of the NRL and hoped that down the line he got the position. Sometimes waiting for something for too long can sap your energy and enthusiasm for its arrival.
The NRL gets Todd Greenberg at the right time. When he it ready to step in and deliver the CEO he believes the game has needed for a very long time. Because of that, you have to hope that he is the man for the job. That he is a long term CEO the game needs. That his experience, and connections to all levels of the game, give the game someone that is well rounded and ready to face the challenges Rugby League has to offer.
People will no doubt attack Greenberg. They will say he shows bias towards his former club, or that he is so busy proving he isn’t bias that he is actually harsher on them than anyone else. Of course, this will all just be hot air.
They will mentioned tough situations he has been put into the middle of in the past. They will talk about pushing things under the rug for the next CEO of the Bulldogs to clear up. Of course, they will overlook the fact that due to withdrawn complaints and a commitment to stand by alleged victims, he had his hands tied, he was unable to act as he probably wanted to, and he ended up being the last man standing in the middle of a situation that had no happy outcome.
For all of these moments that Greenberg has been through, all of that experience, all of that media attention, all of those years running a club, all of those years working at the NRL….he wanted this job and now he has got it.
It has been around 20 years since Rugby League had a leader that really wanted to be the CEO, and who you knew wanted to hold that position for a long time.
Rugby League has that now in Todd Greenberg. I for one wish him all the best.
A well known Rugby League writer, League Freak has established a reputation among supporters of the game for his fearless commentary and unmatched insight. With a reach that spans both sides of the globe, League Freak has produced an independent network that allows him to distribute content to his many thousands of followers. He is the owner and main author of LeagueFreak.com