Former NRL social worker wanted to bring Todd Greenberg down


The liquidator sent a summons to Greenberg and the NRL’s senior welfare and education manager Paul Heptonstall in order to publicly examine the pair, given the NRL had previously dealt with Newheadspace.

The NRL’s legal counsel successfully fought the need for Greenberg and Heptonstall to appear in a witness box. The judge described the attempt to question the NRL officials as an “abuse of process”.

Todd Greenberg and Jhanna Culver.

The court heard Culver forwarded a tweet from Greenberg to litigation funder Doug Whelan which said “please can we bring him down”. Whelan responded, saying, “No, we are out to recover monies”.

It was deemed Culver could not produce any material to the NRL to prove her intellectual property had been stolen and helped create invoices and board papers for the purpose of insolvency, which would allow her to appoint a liquidator to examine senior NRL officials in court.

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The judge ruled Greenberg’s role in the Newheadspace saga was “peripheral at best”.

The judgment also contained claims Culver wanted to devise a “divide-and-conquer strategy” through her relationship with a wife of a senior Australian Rugby League Commission official.

Culver accused the NRL of helping set up a similar program based on her own Extending The Dream concept, which was piloted over a week with the New Zealand Warriors in early 2011.

The scheme was later rolled out at the other 15 NRL clubs before being halted in late 2012 or early 2013.

Culver claims the opportunity to tutor NRL players on life after rugby league originally arose through her friendship with the wife of then NRL boss David Gallop.

Newheadspace subsequently provided sessions for four Cowboys players in late 2014 worth $11,516 and a further three players from the Knights totalling $13,962.

She requested the NRL pay for her services from those sessions, but after Heptonstall transferred $6000 to cover some of the Knights fees – and the NRL told her it would not provide further funding until it reviewed all of its welfare schemes – the relationship soured quickly.

Facts before the court state Greenberg, who knew Culver from his days as Bulldogs chief executive, agreed to meet the welfare provider during his time as the NRL head of football.

The court was also told he later offered for the NRL to pay her a further $7500 as part of her service to the Knights in order to finalise the dispute, a decision he made just three months after being elevated to NRL chief executive.

He emailed Culver saying: “I have agreed to pay you a significant amount of money that ultimately we are not obliged to do, but I have chosen to do so for the simple fact that it is the right thing to do & to demonstrate my respect for you.”

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But Culver escalated her complaint and claimed the NRL was not taking her allegation of stealing her intellectual property seriously, being party to a “fairly threatening” letter that was sent to head office with a damages claim of $2.5 million to $3m.

The court was told she later discussed increasing it to $5m for “breaches of fiduciary duty, contract, negligence, loss of opportunity and injuries sustained to Ms Culver’s mental health”.

Culver was supported by former Queensland State of Origin star Michael Crocker, who emailed Rugby League Players Association chief executive Ian Prendergast saying Newheadspace’s program had been “subsequently copied and renamed as the Play On program” under the guise of Max Coaching. Crocker was publicly examined by the liquidator.

The court found the business name Newheadspace lapsed in December 2015 and the company ceased to trade.

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