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NRL CEO Todd Greenberg.

NRL CEO Todd Greenberg launched the 2020 Telstra Premiership on Thursday night by saying the game's revamped Simply the Best advertising campaign "unites, excites and inspires".

Greenberg responded to recent commentary about the advertisement – which pays homage to the revolutionary 1990 campaign featuring Tina Turner – by saying "fans can, and will, debate the moments – fiercely – but you can't debate the music". 

Many have applauded the effort to represent all comers, others have claimed the ad was a political statement.

Vision of Latrell Mitchell draped in an Aboriginal flag and Macklemore performing his gay rights anthem "Same Love" at the 2017 NRL grand final are included among some great moments of the past 30 years.

In addressing the audience at the season launch at The Venue in the Sydney inner-city suburb of Alexandria, Greenberg held firm on the decision to make "Simply the Best" the game's anthem again.

"It returns in 2020 because it is the most iconic soundtrack in rugby league history. Without question, Tina Turner’s classic unites, excites, and inspires," Greenberg said.

Still making history, still a game for everyone, still simply the best

Greenberg paid tribute to then-NSWRL boss John Quayle and marketing guru Brian Walsh, who were key to the initial campaign's success.

"Back then, you had the vision, courage and gut instinct to know it would be a game changer. It made football sexy, made it real, and made people fall in love with the game," Greenberg said of the pair, who were present at the launch.

"Fast-forward to today, and you believed in our plans to celebrate the most iconic campaign in sports marketing history. Thank you for the faith that you showed in us, and for trusting us to do it justice.

"The music, the message, and rugby league are still Simply the Best."

American songstress Tina Turner said she was delighted the NRL had chosen to use The Best as its soundtrack once more.

"I am thrilled the NRL is still excited about 'Simply The Best' and will use it again after 30 years,’’ Turner said.

"30 years on, to see the song being celebrated and the campaign re-launched is very humbling.

"To this day I have very fond memories of the campaign and the [1993] grand final performance. I can still remember climbing to the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge at dawn to film the commercial.

"The grand final was my first rugby league game and I’ve never forgotten it. I wish the NRL all the best with the campaign."

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