Australian rugby league legend Mal Meninga believes departed NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg was a scapegoat in a time of crisis.
Greenberg and the NRL "mutually" parted ways on Monday night, under the weight of extreme financial pressures and criticism from broadcasters and clubs.
The coronavirus pandemic has left the NRL without a product for its commercial partners and without a significant financial war chest to fall back on, the game's future in Australia is far from certain.
The NRL has been aggressive in trying to get its season restarted and just last week signalled May 28 as its target.
Confirmation on what the revamped season will look like is expected later this week and the timing of Greenberg's resignation has been questioned by Meninga.
Nine Network has put the running of the NRL under significant scrutiny in recent weeks, with the broadcaster alleging financial mismanagement of $1.8 billion in TV revenue.
“Nine has invested hundreds of millions in this game over decades and we now find they have profoundly wasted those funds with very little to fall back on to support the clubs, the players and supporters," the network said last week.
“It would now appear that much of that has been squandered by a bloated head office completely ignoring the needs of the clubs, players and supporters.”
But Meninga told Fox Sport that the lack of financial reserves couldn't be pinned on Greenberg alone.
"For me, if he is to blame, everyone has to be to blame about where the game has gone over the past few years," Meninga told Fox League Live.
"And in my opinion, I think it [the game] is looking really good.
"I know there have been some financial issues at the moment, but does that go on Todd?
"It's like a coach. If a club is not being successful, you can't look at the administration, you can't look at the players, so you look at the coach and he gets the sack, because he's the easy one, the easy option for you.
"I would assume it's the same with the game. There are a lot of people around Todd that make some tough decisions throughout the year - the CFO, the football manager, the executive... and then, all of a sudden, the head guy falls on his sword."
The former Kangaroos and Queensland great is concerned Greenberg's departure will lead to more uncertainty within the league's upper management.
Meninga has pleaded with the NRL to show a united front with the clubs and broadcast partners to get the product back on the park as soon as possible.
"We are going through this crisis where we need to be all together.
"We need to sit on the same page and move forward together, instead of bagging people and making some accusations about people.
"Let's get on the same page and get the game back on the field."