CCI secured some of the NRL’s greats to share their leadership lessons at a well-attended CCI luncheon last Friday entitled ‘Teamwork Beyond the Field – NRL Leaders Talk Business’.
Melbourne Storm captain Cameron Smith, Storm coach Craig Bellamy, NRL CEO Todd Greenberg and club CEOs Blake Solly (Rabbitohs), Andrew Hill (Bulldogs), Dave Donaghy (Storm) and Cameron George (Warriors) talked about the sport’s potential expansion and what it takes to run a successful club.
Greenberg confirmed an NRL expansion is on the cards but didn’t confirm whether Perth would receive a team in the near future.
He related the expansion question to the tough choices leaders have to make: “We’ve been very clear in recent times that we are serious about expansion. That doesn’t necessarily mean that we will expand tomorrow, but we’ll certainly consider the benefits very carefully.
“Having a team here in WA and other regions will be something under consideration in the months ahead.
“The game’s full of these very important decisions and this is where leadership is very important.
“The right decisions are not always the most popular ones. I’ve long said that you could never get a job like mine if you want to be popular.
“People quite often confuse popularity and leadership – they are two very different commodities.
“On a daily basis across the game we make decisions that will be unpopular to some, sometimes unpopular to many. But we aim to make to make the right decisions for the betterment of the game itself.”
Bellamy and Smith regaled lunch attendees with what makes their club successful.
The Storm has appeared in 17 finals campaigns in its 20-year history and has appeared in eight grand finals.
Bellamy puts the club’s success down to not just finding talent, but also character.
“We obviously want talented players and talented staff in our club, but we look at their character and what sort of people they are as well,” he said.
“The number one thing we look at when recruiting is how hard do we think they’re going to work to get their job done? The other one really important thing to me is the level of care they’re going to have for the club and the care they’re going to have for their teammates.”
Bellamy puts his players through some strange tests before they can play at the Storm including working in a building site for two weeks and a gruelling three-day army training program that unearths mental toughness.
Smith says the tests help ground the new recruits.
“More and more you see kids coming straight out of school into a first grade system so Craig introduced this program to help these kids understand that it is a privilege to play to play professional sport, not just in the NRL,” he says.
“You need to understand that coming each day to training or work, if you want to call it work, you are quite lucky to do that.”