NRL's Bid To Nab Australian Football League Chief Fails, Timing 'Suspicious'
The Australian Football League announced its COO Gillon McLachlan had "rejected a monster deal" to switch to the National Rugby League, according to Read & Denham of THE AUSTRALIAN. McLachlan was the commission's choice to become the game's new CEO, but following weeks of speculation, he "elected to remain with the AFL." The commission will now "ponder its other options," which include Racing New South Wales CEO Peter V'landys. However, it can "put a line through" Essendon CEO Ian Robson, who announced he had "no intention of leaving." The AFL's second-in-charge, one of the country's most-respected sporting administrators, was one of three candidates earmarked to replace former NRL CEO David Gallop, although his decision "won't necessarily mean the commission will turn to one of the two remaining options." It would be "no surprise" if interim CEO Shane Mattiske remained in the role on a permanent basis. Commission Chair John Grant tried to downplay the impact of McLachlan's decision, it was "without doubt a victory" for the AFL. The NRL had tempted McLachlan with what the AFL described on its website as a "huge offer," believed to be in excess of A$1.5M ($1.54M) a year (THE AUSTRALIAN, 9/5).
UNANSWERED QUESTIONS: In Sydney, Brad Walter wrote that league officials "were left questioning" whether McLachlan "ever really seriously considered an approach" to be the game's new CEO. Meanwhile, AFL CEO Andrew Demetriou had spoken publicly several times "about how he did not want to lose McLachlan" and understood why the ARLC had made him its No. 1 target. One official said, "You have to wonder whether he has just been stringing us along all the time and was never going to take the job. The timing is suspicious" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 9/5).