Raiders CEO Don Furner wants to continue his work at Canberra.
Raiders CEO Don Furner wants to continue his work at Canberra.

Contenders turn backs on NRL's top job

ANDREW Abdo's chances of becoming the next NRL boss have firmed after a number of candidates distanced themselves from the role on Tuesday.

The league's coronavirus crisis hit another low point on Monday when chief executive Todd Greenberg resigned after four years in charge of the game.

South Sydney CEO Blake Solly, Canberra counterpart Don Furner and Melbourne head Dave Donaghy were immediately mentioned as possible replacements.

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However, both Solly and Furner ruled themselves out of the running while Donaghy also shied away from declaring any interest in the position.

"I'm happy and content in Melbourne and focused on the work to do with Storm," Donaghy said in a short statement.

In a text, Solly said: "I won't be applying. Very happy at SSFC."

Another potential candidate, Accor Hotels chief operating officer Simon McGrath, also dropped out of any potential shortlist.

McGrath was shortlisted for the position the last time it was made vacant by Dave Smith's departure, only to eventually lose out to Greenberg.

Andrew Abdo is the interim NRL CEO after Todd Greenberg’s departure.
Andrew Abdo is the interim NRL CEO after Todd Greenberg’s departure.

On Monday afternoon Greenberg stood down which prompted speculation McGrath could again apply for the role given Accor's long-term partnership with the NRL.

"My position is that whilst I acknowledge the NRL role is so critical and worthwhile to our community - I am not interested," McGrath told News Corp.

 

"My role heading Accor Hotels as the leading hotel operator, is one that I remain very loyal to now more than ever I have a responsibility to lead.

"That being said Accor hotels has a very deep history with the NRL and we intend to play a major role in the rebuild of the code."

Brisbane boss Paul White has also been mentioned but opted not to comment on the possibility of taking over at NRL headquarters.

 

White previously indicated that this would be his final year at the club but recently said he could stay and help the club navigate through the coronavirus crisis.

"My sole focus is on getting the Broncos through this unprecedented and critical time in our history and ensuring rugby league returns to the field as quickly as possible," he said.

Another potential candidate, NSWRL boss David Trodden, chose not to comment which left Abdo - the league's chief commercial officer - as the frontrunner.

South Sydney CEO Blake Solly wants to stay at the Rabbitohs.
South Sydney CEO Blake Solly wants to stay at the Rabbitohs.

The South-African born executive, who was appointed interim CEO after Greenberg's demise, has been the CMO of the league for the past six years.

He has been widely credited for its $500 million earnings in annual revenue. A former NRL colleague described Abdo as an incredibly hard worker.

"And he's ambitious. When you look at the commercial success, no doubt he's done a great job commercially," the source told AAP.

"The question he has to ask himself is: 'Am I better off continuing to do commercial work or being the face of the game'?"



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