Passionate NRL and Brisbane Broncos fan Nick (@nicklocke87) joins us for his first article for NRL News, as he casts his eye over how CEO Dave Smith was appointed in the role and how he has performed since.
Dave Smith as CEO of the NRL. Who would’ve thought that 3 years ago as an ex lawyer and survivor of the Super League war, David Gallop, controlled the game with seemingly an iron fist, that we would end up with a Welsh Banker with a passion for our country?
I certainly didn’t. Let me start by saying that I rather enjoyed the performances of David Gallop as CEO of this great game for a number reasons. Not least of which was his ability to make the tough decisions whilst displaying the emotions of an iPhone assistant whose name rhymes with ‘miri’. David struck me as a logical man who analysed a situation and selected the most appropriate action available at that point in time. For this reason, the man appeared to make a perfect enemy to those who make their decisions with that old thing we call ’emotion’.
Rugby league is an emotional game. There isn’t a supporter out there that doesn’t act based on his desires to see his or her team, player or coach succeed or be advantaged.
Enter David Smith.
In a vast and calculated recruitment process, the net was cast out for the NRL to find its own version of the financially entrepreneurial Andrew Demetriou to take this great game from the suburbs to the CBD. Someone that could implement a real ‘strategy’ to grow our great game to dominate the Aussie sporting landscape. We wanted the best of the best, a man or woman that could at long last professionalise this game and make the decisions that were
not always wanted by the games stakeholders but were needed. We now have this man.
When you think about the best CEOs from around the world, Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, how many of these came without criticism? The answer is none. Now please don’t think that for one moment I compare our NRL CEO to the world’s best.
But please recognise that there are similarities. Each of these great leaders have the ability to both dream
big and listen to the demand and create a supply. Dave Smith has so far made changes based on the voice of the fans demands such as increased focus on the referee pathways, grassroots funding, live Sunday games, more footy such as the Auckland Nines and the WCC.
He has provided the supply (including amending a $1billion TV deal in the process). He is also employing people with the ability to fulfil their position descriptions. These are those who are being referred to with the ‘dirty’ connotation of ‘non rugby league people’.
Ladies and gentlemen, these very people are exactly what this great game needs in order to take it to the next level or professionalism. ‘Professionals’ with no club bias or hidden agenda. Those with the capacity to make decisions based on the greater good as opposed to the personal good.
This is not politics people. We don’t need staff making decisions based on what is the best decision for keeping their position. What is best for business is best for Rugby League.