The Roar
The Roar


John Quayle is the perfect alternative to John Grant

John Grant will now head up the RLIF. (AAP Image/Paul Miller)
29th November, 2016
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On December 20, there will be an extraordinary general meeting of the Australian Rugby League Commission, where under-siege chairman John Grant’s future will be decided.

The 16 NRL clubs, two state associations, and eight Commissioners will vote, and on that basis Grant has none and Buckley’s surviving.

A complex man, Grant has won the respect of the business community as an engineering graduate who heads the successful IT company Data3.

But as a former Kangaroo who played for Queensland and as a rugby league administrator, he’s been an accident waiting to happen.

And it has – often.

Grant flicked David Gallop in 2012, who had been a strong and respected CEO for a decade – bad call – then Grant searched the world for a replacement.

After months of failure, Grant came up with Dave Smith, a rugby union-orientated Welsh banker, who had no idea of who was captain of the Kangaroos, and not long later referred to the reigning Dally M Medallist and then-suspended Bulldog as “Benji” Barba.

Grant flicked Smith after three of a five-year contract, and repeated the worldwide search for a replacement, while taking over the CEO job himself.

Five months later, Grant appointed Todd Greenberg the new CEO – who had been right under his nose the entire time.


In between, Grant managed to stuff up a Kangaroos announcement.

“At lock, Paul Gallen from the Cronulla-Sutherland Hawks,” he said, then followed it up two names later with, “on the bench, Daly Cherry-Evans from the Manly Seagulls.”

John Quayle would never make any such elementary and monumental blunders, he’s forgotten more about rugby league than Grant will ever know.

The major Quayle asset is he ticks all the boxes, especially his communication skills.

A former Easts and Parramatta rep who played for NSW and the Kangaroos in the early 1970s, Quayle was NRL and ARL boss from 1983 to 1996.

And he was the very best, although closely pressed by Gallop.

Once Quayle called rugby league halt, he was snapped up by SOCOG to be the manager of venues for the Sydney 2000 Olympics.

He was so outstandingly successful, Athens grabbed him to do the same job at the 2004 Olympics, and that started a chain of identical events with the 2006 Asian Games, and the 2007 Pan Pacific Games.


Two years ago, rugby league again called on Quayle to be on the new Newcastle Knights board once the NRL took over the admin of the club following the exit of Nathan Tinkler.

That’s where John Quayle is today, just a skip down the expressway for the 69-year-old to become the new chairman of the Australian Rugby League Commission.

And rugby league to breathe a huge sigh of relief.