Acting NRL CEO and ARLC Chairman John Grant at the announcement of the 2016 NRL Community Ambassadors.

The next NRL CEO will be someone who has a love of the game and will be tasked with helping grow not just the NRL within Australia but the sport of rugby league 

Acting NRL CEO and chairman of the Australian Rugby League Commission John Grant said an interview process is currently underway for external candidates for the CEO role, and interviews with candidates from within the game to commence shortly.

A shortlist would be narrowed down by late February with a final candidate hopefully selected by late March or early April. After that it would depend on the incoming CEO's required notice period at their current role as to when they would formally start.

Grant said an overriding factor is that the successful candidate must have knowledge of and love for the game of rugby league.

Speaking at Rugby League Central for the announcement of the NRL's 2016 Community Ambassadors, Grant reaffirmed a desire for rugby league to be the number one sport in Australia, as well as a desire to continue growing the game globally. 

"I think rugby league needs to be and can be the pre-eminent sport in Australia. Every indicator says that it can be. Playing off its international opportunities as well just gives it another string to its bow," Grant said.

"We see NRL firstly as the game of Australia but we see NRL as an opportunity to launch rugby league more strongly into the world game.

"We've got 40 nations playing rugby league with organised competitions around the world now. We've got our Four Nations at the end of this year in the UK, we've got Scotland as the fourth nation - things you would never have heard before.

"So there are opportunities to use the NRL as one of the pre-eminent competitions in rugby league in the world together with the Super League in the northern hemisphere, the opportunity to build those foundations internationally and build the world game is really something that we're playing to. We see just continuing opportunities."