Rugby League

Cronulla Sharks hooker Michael Ennis implores NRL to give Todd Greenberg top job

Decorated Cronulla hooker Michael Ennis has implored the ARL Commission to stop its muddling international search for the NRL's new chief executive, endorsing his former Bulldogs boss Todd Greenberg, who "has been under their nose for the past five months".

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ARLC chairman John Grant is tipped to give the nod to Greenberg, who served as Dave Smith's deputy before the former banker quit the NRL's top job in October, in a move that will placate restless club bosses who have become disillusioned with the direction of head office.

And Ennis, who will celebrate his 250th NRL game when the Sharks take on Manly at Brookvale Oval, has claimed the perceived inconsistency over penalties handed down to players who touch referees is not being helped by the administration holding pattern at the NRL.

Ennis worked closely with Greenberg while the veteran rake was captain at Canterbury before the administrator joined the NRL in 2013. "We can't make those decisions until we have someone running the game," Ennis said. "The sooner we can put Todd Greenberg there the better.

"To be honest we have a fair bit on our plates as players, but this process has been going on for a long time. He ran a very successful Bulldogs club there for a while, he knows the game and has that background and to me he pretty much covers all bases.

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"Knowing the day-to-day of running the NRL – and he's been under their nose for five months – to me the biggest concern is why has it taken so long to give him the opportunity?"

Accor Hotels chief operating officer Simon McGrath is considered the only likely threat to Greenberg assuming the post.

Sending it wide: Michael Ennis passes during the round two NRL match between the Cronulla Sharks and the St George ...
Sending it wide: Michael Ennis passes during the round two NRL match between the Cronulla Sharks and the St George Illawarra Dragons at Southern Cross Stadium. Photo: Mark Kolbe

But Ennis is in no doubt Greenberg's vast experience in the game would bring a "commonsense" approach to the NRL, which is battling with a spate of charges stemming from players making contact with referees.

"He's gone further and has seen the ins and outs and the open books of the league in his role at the NRL," Ennis said. "It's pretty clear in my opinion what they need to do, but it's for more experienced people than me [to decide]."

Pedigree: Todd Greenberg made his name in rugby league at the Bulldogs.
Pedigree: Todd Greenberg made his name in rugby league at the Bulldogs. Photo: Mick Tsikas

Ennis will celebrate a special milestone on Monday night in his 14th season in the NRL.

And the 32-year-old, who is hoping to pen a contract extension that will keep him in the Sutherland Shire next season, has credited Sharks coach Shane Flanagan with regenerating his spark at a fifth NRL club.

"I think the style of footy in terms of the way I had always played as a dummy-half changed a little bit at the back end of my time at Canterbury," Ennis said. "In fairness I probably became more of a defensive style of dummy half to suit the role in the team. Certainly since I've come here Shane has reopened that book I suppose and allowed me to play that enjoyable attacking footy."

And his teammates are glad he's committed to wearing black, white and blue as he continues to forge a reputation as the game's greatest niggler. "He's been in the game for years and that's why he's got that much respect," prop Andrew Fifita said. "If I go back to Tiger Town I'm getting booed and when he went back to Belmore he's getting praised. Before I even played with him I used to hate him. He was just a menace in attack and even when I had the ball he would throw the niggles in while the ref's not looking. He gets on your nerves a bit, but I'm glad he's on my side now and he's doing it for us."

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