The NRL’s chief executive officer is quitting.

Dave Smith helped boost the popularity of Rugby League.

But he was criticised for failing to get the best price for television coverage of the game.

Aaron Cronin reports.


The former banker has been a polarising figure for rugby league since taking over as NRL’s head-honcho.

But a more recent fallout with club power brokers and his handling of a free-to-air broadcast rights deal are believed to have influenced his decision, although Smith himself says its just the right time.

Dave Smith, NRL CEO: “After three big years, three successful years, that time has come.”

The NRL is currently attracting record breaking numbers and membership and Smith’s satisfied he’s done enough.

Dave Smith, NRL CEO: “The reason for that is that rugby league has just finished another unbelievable year with one of the biggest and best grand finals we’ve ever had.”

And colleagues agree saying the NRL is now safer for players, broader in its appeal, and one of the most entertaining sports thanks to Smith.

John Grant, ARL Commission Chairman: “Under his leadership, and with his vision and drive, the Commission and his team and the NRL and others in the clubs and leagues have delivered a very long list of achievements.”

Grant is expected to take over as an interim CEO when Smith leaves at the end of November.

Aaron Cronin, QUT News.