New job for NRL boss Todd Greenberg
NRL CEO Todd Greenberg will swap the corporate suit for an apron and a touch judge's flag on Saturday as the NRL celebrates 'Back to Juniors' Round.
More than 150 NRL players and volunteers have given up their time to coach a local team, lend a hand on the BBQ or help set up and pack away training sessions throughout the week and this weekend in recognition of the wonderful work done by rugby league's army of volunteers each and every weekend.
For the third year in succession – but the first time as NRL CEO – Greenberg will head into the Sutherland Shire to lend a hand with the Menai Roosters while referees' boss Tony Archer will visit junior clubs in the Canterbury, Wests, St George and Souths associations over the course of the weekend.
Greenberg's duties at Menai will be split between running a line for a junior game and manning the customary sausage sizzle that is a fixture at most footy fields each weekend and said it is a day on the calendar that he cherishes.
"It's been something I've done the last couple of years and is one of the weekends I look forward to most," Greenberg said.
"One of the years I ran the water for a team in the under-13s and they were getting absolutely smashed so I was behind the goalposts a lot trying to give them some advice.
"Clearly it didn't work so this year I'm going to run a line and cook a barbecue."
Much of rugby league's attention this week has been focused on Queensland's thrilling State of Origin victory at Suncorp Stadium on Wednesday night but that has been followed up by the unveiling of Rugby League Central Queensland on Thursday and the launch of Munchkin League on Friday.
But no matter the focus at the elite level rugby league's greatest strength has always been those people manning the coalface at grassroots level and Greenberg said he and the other NRL staff and players were thrilled to be able to recognise their contribution this weekend.
"It's a great initiative," said Greenberg.
"We always understand the elite part of the game, the NRL clubs and Origin, get a lot of the headlines but it doesn't happen without the grassroots being developed so this is a way for us to say thank you.
"Thousands of parents, coaches, teachers and others sacrifice so much for our budding footballers and together we owe them a great deal of thanks and gratitude."