Greenberg embraces tough NRL challenges

FORMER Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs chief executive Todd Greenberg took the giant leap into the head role of the National Rugby League’s (NRL) football department in July and admits it’s been a challenging step in his sports administration career.

“I said at the beginning this is an unbelievable professional opportunity, which is the reason I took it,” Greenberg told The AJN.

“It won’t always be easy. Leadership is not about popularity, it’s about making the right decisions for the organisation to leave a legacy.

“That’s what I think I did at the Bulldogs, I left it in better shape than I found it, and that’s what I hope I’ll do at the NRL.”

Despite the difficulties involved in the huge jump from club to league level, Greenberg says there are similarities in the two roles.

“I think the similarities are very much around people,” he says.

“Sports teams and sports franchises are really only as good as the people that you have working for you.

“The NRL has a very good group of people trying to take the game forsportsward, and it’s exactly the same as what was inside the Bulldogs.”

Greenberg says he’s never shied away from the fact he is Jewish and appreciates the way the sport unites communities, pointing to the diverse Bulldogs’ supporters in the lead up to the 2012 grand final.

“Sometimes some close friends of mine say I was the most appreciated Jew in Lakemba,” he jokes.

“There’s 185 different nationalities that live in the Canterbury-Bankstown area, who had one common purpose that week, and that was the Bulldogs.

“Whether you are Hindu, Lebanese, Jewish or Catholic, it was absolutely irrelevant, and that made me incredibly proud of what we created.”

Greenberg represented Australia at two Maccabiah Games and was set to take part in 1997 – the year of the bridge collapse – but pulled out because he and his wife had a child.

He says his time with Maccabi has played a key role in his life, which led to his return to the organisation for its recent MacSem leadership seminar.

“I think it absolutely helped shape the person I’ve become,” Greenberg says.

“A lot of really strong intrinsic values in Maccabi that are still here today, I’ve taken forward, and that’s about things like honesty and integrity and putting some really good positive messages into what you do day-to-day.

“That’s what Maccabi stands for in my mind, and that’s part of the things that I do every day.”

ASHLEY SHENKER AND GARETH NARUNSKY

Photo: Gareth Narunsky