Queensland Rugby League managing director Rob Moore has expressed his disappointment at the resignation of NRL CEO Dave Smith, saying that he helped to rid rugby league of its Sydney bias during his tenure.
Smith will bring an end to his three-year stint in the NRL's top job on November 30 and Moore said that he has been a great friend to Queensland Rugby League throughout that period.
Upon his appointment many within the game were critical of Smith's lack of rugby league knowledge but Moore believes it engaged Smith in ways his predecessors hadn't been.
"People were always critical from the beginning that Dave didn't come from rugby league but we've never had that concern," Moore said on Tuesday.
"One of the things that he did here in Queensland really, really quickly was that he came up to the Cape, he came up to the Gulf, he travelled all over western Queensland, he's been out to Longreach, he's been all over the place.
"He's dropped into junior footy grounds and talked to people and found out what was really happening at the grassroots level and that's the first time an administrator from Sydney has ever done that.
"There has been a lot of change in the game and a lot of things that we've asked for before the [ARL] Commission came into being and Dave has seen all those things through.
"There's far greater rigour in decision-making in the game now. The decisions aren't all biased towards New South Wales which you could argue they were in the past and we've seen investment in the game in Queensland which we wouldn't have seen before.
"I'm disappointed to see him go because we had a really good relationship with Dave.
"He accepted and understood what we were trying to do up here and he supported us in that and he's been in our corner all the way through.
"We would hope that someone that comes into that job would take the same view of Queensland."
Calls have already begun for Smith's successor to have a strong background in rugby league but Moore rejects that as a necessary attribute and is looking forward to having input into the recruitment process on behalf of the QRL.
"We need people with business acumen in those positions and Dave brought that," Moore said.
"You could argue that you need someone with a bit of knowledge in the game; I'd debate that sometimes.
"I would expect that as we have had with other positions that we'll have the opportunity to chat with the consultants and provide our thoughts on what we would like to see and we'll look forward to doing that.
"There's enough people employed in the game with the football minds, we need more people in the game that have got that business acumen behind them and understand the role the game has in business."
Moore cited an increase in funding to Intrust Super Cup clubs as one of Smith's key legacies to Queensland Rugby League but says the focus for the ARLC and its next CEO must be on grassroots development.
"Both John Grant and Dave have been open about the need to sort out the NRL clubs first and that work is progressing and being done," Moore said.
"Some of them have been sorted through, others are still to be done, there's a new funding model for the clubs that obviously has to be finalised but there's no doubt at all that the next stage for the game is more support for grassroots rugby league and pathways in the game and I think we'll see that happen when Shane Richardson (NRL head of game strategy and development) finishes his work.
"That will delve into the pathways that sit below second-tier footy and how players come through the system and I think we'll see more investment in grassroots footy as we progress."
This video first appeared on qrl.com.au