Abdo firms in NRL CEO race as Donaghy drops out

Andrew Abdo's chances of becoming the next NRL boss have firmed with a number of candidates distancing themselves from the role.

Melbourne chief executive Dave Donaghy shied away on Tuesday from the league's top gig, declaring he remains focused on his job at the Storm.

"I'm happy and content in Melbourne and focused on the work to do with Storm," Donaghy said in a short statement to AAP.

Donaghy's comments come after another option, Accor Hotels chief operating officer Simon McGrath, ruled himself out of contention.

McGrath was short-listed for the position the last time it was made vacant by Dave Smith, only to eventually lose out to Todd Greenberg.

Greenberg fell on his sword on Monday, prompting speculation McGrath could again apply for the role given Accor's long-term partnership with the NRL.

"My position is that whilst I acknowledge the NRL role is so critical and worthwhile to our community - I am not interested," McGrath told News Corp.

"My role heading Accor Hotels as the leading hotel operator, is one that I remain very loyal to now more than ever I have a responsibility to lead.

"That being said Accor hotels has a very deep history with the NRL and we intend to play a major role in the rebuild of the code."

Canberra boss Don Furner, Brisbane counterpart Paul White and South Sydney CEO Blake Solly have also been mentioned as possible replacements.

White opted not to reveal whether he would be interested, saying late on Monday his attention remains solely on the Broncos.

White had previously indicated his intention to step down last month but recently said he could stay on to help the club navigate through the coronavirus crisis.

"My sole focus is on getting the Broncos through this unprecedented and critical time in our history and ensuring rugby league returns to the field as quickly as possible," White said.

Another option, NSWRL boss David Trodden, chose not to comment, leaving Abdo - the league's chief commercial officer - as the frontrunner.

The South-African born executive, who was thrust as the interim CEO following Greenberg's demise, has been the CMO of the league for the past six years.

He has been widely credited for its $500 million earnings in annual revenue.

A former NRL colleague described Abdo as an incredibly hard worker.

"And he's ambitious. When you look at the commercial success, no doubt he's done a great job commercially," the source told AAP.

"The question he has to ask himself is: 'Am I better off continuing to do commercial work or being the face of the game'''?