Tense words between NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg and NZ Warriors boss Cameron George proved the final straw in Greenberg's exit from the role this week.
Prominent Aussie rugby league reporter Paul Kent has revealed details of a phone conference between the pair and ARL Commission chairman Peter V'Landys on the weekend, which finally saw Greenberg pushed out the door.
That call was the final straw for V'Landys, who had grown sick of being blindsided by failures at NRL headquarters, Kent told Fox League Live.
Officially, Greenberg 'resigned' from his post on Monday afternoon, but Kent cited his horrific handling of the Warriors over the past two weeks as the dealbreaker.
With the NRL competition tentatively scheduled to resume on May 28, the Auckland-based club faced tough timelines to return to Australia, sit out two weeks in quarantine and then complete another 'pre-season' training programme before that date.
Other NRL clubs recognised those challenges and agreed to delay their preparations until the Warriors were clear of their lockdown, but the NRL was too slow to reassure the NZ club.
"The Warriors had continually asked the NRL for details around them moving to Australia," Kent told Fox League Live. "When they would get there, how they would get there and there was talk their families were going to come.
"The NRL failed to respond to Warriors CEO Cameron George and the concerns that the club had. The Warriors are vital to forming a 16-team competition, and here they are asking legitimate questions and not even getting a response."
Greenberg's lack of clear communication with George was exposed on the phone hook-up, where Kent claimed V'landys fired shots at the former Canterbury Bulldogs CEO.
"V'landys lambasted Greenberg and said, 'Todd, why haven’t you done this? Why haven’t you sorted it out?'
"There were a lot of things like that, where clubs who had long ago lost faith. You only have to read numerous quotes from club CEO’s in the past few weeks, where they haven’t been getting sufficient answers or any answers in some cases."
Kent claimed the ARLC had lost faith in Greenberg to steer the game through the coronavirus crisis that threatened to cripple rugby league in Australia.
"Todd was days away, I believe, from being sacked at the start of the season," said Kent. "Then the coronavirus pandemic hit and he got a stay of execution.
"I think V’landys was hoping to get through this pandemic without having to do this, but essentially, no real work was being done in there.
"He was forced to pull the trigger and it has been portrayed as Todd resigning, but let’s be honest, he jumped before he was pushed."
The NRL is set to announce what the reshaped competition will look like later this week.