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Annesley backs Greenberg to head ARLC

The NRL's former chief operating officer Graham Annesley has backed Canterbury chief executive Todd Greenberg to be an ideal replacement for David Gallop.
Annesley backs Greenberg to head ARLC
by NRL

By Ian McCullough

SYDNEY, June 6 AAP - The NRL's former chief operating officer Graham Annesley has backed Canterbury chief executive Todd Greenberg to be an ideal replacement for David Gallop.

Annesley stepped down as Gallop's right-hand man to run for election to the NSW government in 2010, and admitted on Wednesday he was surprised at his former boss's sudden departure as ARLC chief executive on Tuesday.

"I've kept in close contact with David, and having agreed a four-year contract with the commission I wasn't expecting him to go just four months later," Annesley, who is the NSW Minister for Sport, told AAP.

"The game is in much better shape than it was 10 years ago when David was appointed CEO."

Gallop was unceremoniously dumped by ARLC Commission chairman John Grant, ending a 10-year reign as the most senior administrator in the game.

His departure leaves a vacancy for one of the most challenging positions in Australian sport, reporting to an eight-man commission headed by the ruthless former Kangaroos winger and self-made millionaire Grant.

Annesley says Greenberg has the credentials to take on the role after turning around the image and off-field fortunes of the Bulldogs.

The 40-year-old was appointed to replace Malcolm Noad in March 2008, becoming the youngest CEO in the NRL, and signed a new three-year contract late last year.

Annesley said it's vital Gallop's replacement has a love of rugby league, although a background is not essential and Greenberg ticked many boxes.

"I think the new person does have to have an interest in the game which Todd obviously does," he said.

"But they also need to have a whole lot of other skills like corporate and commercial experience as rugby league is a big business now.

"Todd has done an amazing job with the Bulldogs. I've worked with him for many years even before he was CEO and he's a very capable person."

Greenberg did not respond to calls from AAP to clarify his position, and the Canterbury directors are believed to be desperate to keep him at the club.

Warren Wilson of the Penrith Panthers Group has also been touted as a replacement, as has former Federal Sports Minister Mark Arbib, who quit politics in February after the ALP leadership battle.

Despite sitting on different sides of the political fence, Annesley said he had full respect for Arbib - a Sydney Roosters member - and was someone the ARLC should also look at carefully.

"It's the right mix of skills that makes the candidate the right person for the job," said Annesley.

"I've worked closely with Mark when he was Federal Sports Minister.

"We both had the same role at state and federal level. He is a very capable person, but he is just one of many who would have the skills they are looking for."

Gallop's predecessor David Moffett, who was NRL CEO from 1999-01, has slammed the ARLC's decision to dump the 46-year-old.

Moffett believes the axing is linked to Gallop's involvement with Super League in 1995.

"I think it's a disgrace," Moffett told radio Newstalk ZB in New Zealand.

"It's a disgrace they didn't allow him to go on his own timing."

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