If you were NRL CEO, what would be on your to-do list?
Former NRL Chief Executive David Gallop. AAP Image/Paul Miller
Rugby League’s new CEO is about to be unveiled by the NRL Commission and there is plenty of talk the successful candidate will be recruited from outside the game.
This indicates the code’s ruling body is making a serious move towards improving its business practices striving for a more streamlined mode of operation and, ultimately, attracting extra exposure for the game and much more cash for the kitty.
David Gallop’s old job is reportedly carrying an annual salary of $750,000 and the successful candidate for the prestige position is certainly going to earn every cent of it.
From what I understand, the finalists have come down to the likes of former Labour powerbroker Mark Arbib, Racing NSW supremo Peter V’Landys, ex-TAB and current Penrith Panthers Supremo Warren Wilson, AFL’s chief operating officer Gillon McLachlan, and Shane Mattiske, the former NRL strategy manager who has, in recent months, been highly active as the interim ARLC chief.
From these, I’d hazard a guess and say it will be whittled down to either Wilson or Mattiske but beware – there is also a whisper that someone completely from left field could land the much sought-after gig. (Editor’s note: It is understood Warren Wilson has withdrawn from the race, with McLachlan emerging as the new number one target)
OK, let’s say the new guy is announced amid great fanfare this week and takes up the big chair at HQ from next Monday. What should he have on his to-do list from the outset?
This is largely a matter of opinion and personal choice but published below are some tasks/priorities that I’d like the new CEO to address from Day 1. Feel free to comment or add your own items for inclusion on the incoming CEO’s very first work pad.
GRASSROOTS: The league is pretty much flush with money thanks to the new Fox Sports-Nine TV deal and the clubs already have their hands out and mouths open, awaiting a generous handout.
Well, let’s say they get $6m each. That still leaves plenty of cash to invest in the development of the game. I’d like to see an army of extra recruitment personnel employed so that schools etc can be bombarded with RL visits, information and handouts.
Phil Gould recently suggested that it might be good for rugby league to ‘buy’ Oztag, an organisation which has tremendous appeal to all ages and both sexes. I’m all for his idea, it makes a lot of sense.
Also, dozens of country clubs in NSW and Queensland are struggling and if money is what they need to stay afloat, look after their needs provided the money is spent prudently.
REFEREES: The code’s referees system is simply not working. Sort out the problems from Day 1 or face another five to ten years of confusion and criticism from the league loving public.
If Bill Harrigan and Stuart Raper aren’t the right men for the job, look for others who can do what is needed to provide some clarification of the rules and eliminate the grey areas.
Heaven forbid if this year’s premiership is decided by a shepherd try.
Do we really need two referees? Can anyone say for sure that the system is better than the one man show that works well in Test footy?
RADIO RIGHTS: I do not think it is healthy that one network is granted exclusive commercial rights. If the FM stations want to broadcast live RL, let them, but they will have to pay as well. I say the more stations the merrier when league is concerned.
EXPANSION: If the code is considering expansion, make some decisions now about when and where and tell the public what will occur. And if the Central Coast Bears aren’t a hope for inclusion in any expanded competition tell them.
MID-SEASON TRANSFER WINDOW: The Beau Scott Affair earlier this year was alarming with the revelation (after just the second round) he was leaving the Dragons to play with the Newcastle Knights in 2013.
I think the league needs to urgently look to provide a four or five day transfer window in mid season. Let the club officials, players and managers do their business after say, Round 14, and that’s it. Huge fines or bans should apply to those who flout the system once it is brought in.
THE GAME’S THEME SONG: I am not a fan of the latest Bon Jovi song but I accept that some fans are cool with it. Fair enough, but I’d like to have a different song for each new season, and preferably using Australian talent.
CINEMA USE: It’s another personal thing but I believe the Commission should investigate the possibility of having more live league games screened in cinema complexes around the nation. It works well with State of Origin, why not some of the bigger NRL games and of course the title decider?
Give fans who cannot travel to certain games an opportunity to have a special rugby league ‘experience’ in ultra comfort and with like-minded fans around them.
READ THE ROAR EVERY DAY: Any CEO worth his salt should be checking this website daily to see what the fans are talking about: what they like about the game and what they loathe. Some talkback radio hosts use their listeners as playthings.
The real issues can be found right here and, within reason, the fans are allowed to have their say.