AFL senior executive Gillon McLachlan has rejected the chance to become David Gallop's successor as chief executive of the NRL.
Andrew Demetriou's deputy has been mulling an offer from the NRL in recent weeks, with reports the Rugby League Commission that runs the game had upped its bid to as much as $1.5 million a season.
But having knocked the RLC back on its initial offering the AFL's chief operating officer has now said no to them for a second time in order to remain second in line at the AFL, insisting he has unfinished business there.
"There is still much to achieve at the AFL as we continue to strategically position the code for ongoing growth in popularity and participation," McLachlan said in a statement.
There has already been speculation since the news of McLachlan's decision broke that he has elected to stay in the position with a long-term view of eventually taking over from Demetriou.
The current boss, who has been in the role since 2003, echoed McLachlan's thoughts when asked for his own take on the decision.
"Gill has played an important role in many of the AFL's significant commercial outcomes in recent years and still has much to contribute to the AFL's future strategic direction," Demetriou said.
It was also reported at the weekend that McLachlan had recently said no to an offer to take over as chief executive of English Premier League club Liverpool.
McLachlan has been with the AFL for the past 12 years, rising through the ranks from strategic planning to head of broadcasting and major projects and now to the COO role which includes fixturing, digital media and broadcasting.