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NRL eyes AFL guru as Gallop's replacement
By Wayne Heming
16:06 AEST Fri Aug 17 2012

The Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) is headhunting gun AFL administrator and strategist Gillon McLachlan to replace its former chief executive David Gallop.

It is understood McLachlan, the man earmarked to eventually take over the reins from current AFL boss Andrew Demetriou, has been told by the ARL Commission "the job is yours if you want it".

The commission's full board is understood to have conducted interviews with several applicants as they search for the right man to replace Gallop, who walked away from Australia's tough sporting post on June 6.

It is believed the ARLC has short-listed three names for the role: McLachlan, Canterbury chief executive Todd Greenberg, who has strong support from within the game, and New Zealand rugby league boss Jim Doyle.

McLachlan, who joined the AFL in 2000 and is its chief operations officer, is highly regarded within the AFL as a savvy operator.

Apart from negotiating the AFL's latest record TV deal, he also secured over a billion dollars in funding from state and federal governments as part of a massive stadium redevelopment arrangement.

One thing in the NRL's favour is that McLachlan knows he'll have to continue to bide his time for two or three more years before Demetriou is ready to give him a shot at the top job.

The NRL is understood to be prepared to significantly bump up the $750,000-a-year salary paid to Gallop to land McLachlan, reportedly on a $1 million dollar-plus package with the AFL.

"They (NRL) would have go pretty high to have a chance, but he's definitely the man they want," a source told AAP on Friday.

"He is considered a gun operator within the AFL."

Landing McLachlan would be a big prize for rugby league given he has such an intimate knowledge of their operating budgets, strategies and long-term plans.

Former Melbourne Demons captain Garry Lyon said poaching McLachlan from the AFL would be a massive coup for rugby league.

"If they are able to pull something like that off, I mean that could be a real body blow to the AFL," said Lyon.

While the commission, headed up by chairman John Grant, has given no indication as to when it will announce Gallop's replacement, it's believed they are well advanced in the interview process and could make an announcement in the coming weeks.

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