SYDNEY - A new era for the ARL Commission begins on Friday when David Smith begins life in the chief executive's hot-seat at Rugby League Central.
The 44-year-old Welshman takes on one of the highest-profile roles in Australian sport fresh from a 25-year career in banking.
A former British Army soldier, who began his working life in the counter-terrorism unit, is credited with turning around the fortunes of Lloyds Bank International amid the worst global financial crisis since the 1929 Wall Street Crash.
In an attempt to hit the ground running, Smith has been spending two days a week at League Central getting to grips with the challenges he faces in his new role, but he officially ends his association with Lloyds on Thursday.
Although the billion dollar broadcast deal and $150m online rights agreements were announced late last year, David Gallop's successor will still have plenty on his plate ahead of the NRL clubs' AGM on February 20 and his first commission meeting 24 hours later.
With the new campaign kicking off in less than six weeks, the new Enterprise Bargaining Agreement (EBA) for players is still to be rubber stamped.
One NRL chief executive said his club were living "almost hand to mouth at the moment," with the increased monthly grants.