After being removed from the Super League Europe board last week - which ended a 16-year stint as a board member of the governing body - Nigel Wood has also stepped down as the Chief Executive of the RFL after ten years in the role. In departing, Wood placed on record that the time was right to leave.

“I am extremely honoured and privileged to have served as Chief Executive of the Rugby Football League. I am an unashamed Rugby League fan and can think of no greater honour that be asked to fulfil the role of CEO for the Rugby Football League.

“However leadership presents many tests, and the greatest of these is to recognise when it is time to step out and this is the right moment to do so.

I would like to place on record my unreserved thanks to the many excellent colleagues, the clubs and all those that I have worked with throughout the last sixteen years and wish them the best of luck for the future.”

With Wood bowing out, who has the mettle, experience, determination and passion to replace him?

Ralph Rimmer

Currently the RFL's Chief Operating Officer - a position which he has held since 2010 - Rimmer has an abundance of experience within the administrative side of the sport. He has held Chief Executive positions at Sheffield Eagles and, after financial pressures brought about a merger with Huddersfield Giants, at the newly-branded Huddersfield-Sheffield Giants in 2000. Rimmer remained CEO as the club reverted to the Huddersfield Giants' moniker until 2004 when the incumbent Richard Thewlis took over.

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Rimmer's administrative career was not over then either; from 2004 to 2010 he was the Managing Director of the Galpharm Stadium and he also joined the Board of Huddersfield Town AFC for that period whilst continuing his role as a Director at Huddersfield Giants RLFC. Upon joining the RFL, Rimmer relinquished all these positions in 2010.

Rimmer's experience within the game also transcends to a managerial level; he managed the Ireland national Rugby League side from 1997 to 2002, a period which included the 2000 World Cup where the Wolfhounds reached the quarter-finals before being narrowly knocked out by England. Clearly with his impressive CV, Rimmer - who is currently holding the position on an interim basis - will likely be considered for the role.

Blake Solly

Although an Australian national, Solly has had top-level experience within the English game. He became general manager of the Super League in January 2015 after previously being the RFL's Director of Standards and Licensing for five years, positions in which he excelled.

As such, his departure back to his native country in May 2016 to become the South Sydney Rabbitohs' Chief Executive was met with a series of groans from British Rugby League supporters who felt that they had lost one of the most well-spoken and down-to-earth characters representing the sport on these shores.

Solly also has a background in the legal profession and with his experience within the RFL and Super League, Solly has all the credentials to become a success in what is one of the most important positions in the game. However, it remains to be seen whether Solly would be willing to leave his current position in the more lucrative NRL.

Gary Hetherington

Look up the words "Rugby League" in the dictionary and the definition will read "Gary Hetherington". A man that has done everything possible in the game, Hetherington must be a candidate. For 17 years he played the game and for 12 years he coached - nine of which were as player-coach for Sheffield Eagles. Not only was Hetherington player-coach at the Yorkshire club but he was also the owner and General Manager. Clearly then, juggling four jobs did not faze the Castleford-born man.

Hetherington's playing career amounted to nearly 300 first team games; starting his professional RL career at Wakefield Trinity, he would go on to play for York, Leeds and Huddersfield throughout the 1970s and early 1980s and he was instrumental in creating Rugby League's first trade union for players. His coaching career included him being the Assistant Coach to the GB team for the Test Series against Australia in 1994 and a Lions Tour to New Zealand in 1996 as well as being the head coach to the GB Under-24 team. After being turned down for the coaching job at York at the age of 27, he and his wife, Kath decided to form their own club – the Sheffield Eagles. The rest is history.

The Eagles were admitted into the RFL in 1984 and finished 17th in the Second Division with a turnover of just £86K in their first season. However, after five years, Hetherington's impact was clearly felt as the team was promoted to the elite division and finished a best-ever fifth in 1995. Hetherington's investment on and off the field and the positive impact it had was one of the great sporting successes and by the time he left in 1996 - to join Leeds Rhinos as CEO in 1996 - the club had grown to a turnover of £1.4m.

With 22 years experience as the CEO of the one most successful clubs in the Super League - a club which he transformed from strugglers to Super League champions in 2004 which was Leeds' first Championship win for 32 years - Hetherington is arguably the best and most experienced candidate for the job. In fact, Hetherington has even been President of the RFL - a position he held in 2004. At every level - as a player, coach, owner and CEO, Hetherington has been a success; could he be what the game needs for it to flourish even further? However, it would perhaps be unlikely that Hetherington would leave his position at Leeds.

Kevin Sinfield

Yes, this one is rather out of left field and with no administrative experience, the suggestion of Kevin Sinfield is rather odd. Yet, perhaps a former player - one who is held in such high regard within the game - and one that is respected by all who play, coach and watch the game, could just be the candidate that Rugby League needs to grow the game, both nationally and internationally.

When the seven-time Grand Final winner with Leeds Rhinos retired at the end of the 2015 season, many would have forgiven him if he left the game altogether. However, his love for the game is so strong that, instead, he stepped into the role of rugby director for the Rugby Football League in August 2016. And, just five months into the role, the former Rhino proved his worth when he was an important go-between in the rift between Super League clubs and the governing body.

Sinfield, as a highly-respected figure throughout his 19 years as a player, was best-suited to act as a mediator when England head coach Wayne Bennett's demands on his Super League-based players put him in direct conflict with club bosses - a rift which was eventually healed, largely thanks to Sinfield.

And, Sinfield's new role will also include helping to create the England team's four-year plan for the 2021 World Cup. Inevitably, then, Sinfield's influence within the game is growing substantially. Is it time for him to step up and take the reins at the RFL? After all, the world of Rugby League knows he is a leader, a true sportsman, is determined to succeed and knows what it takes to grow the game. Though missing the necessary experience, there is no better Rugby League representative than Sinfield.