Written by Stuart McLennan
Anyone that has observed ARLC Chair Peter V’landys operate after taking over in 2019 knows he doesn’t mince words and follows up with action.
He is ready to take player managers to task after Isaac Moses was deregistered last June and former Wests Tigers forward Elijah Taylor recently revealed his manager allegedly swindled him out of a large sum of money leaving him severely out of pocket.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported that V’landys will consult with the RLPA, a number of player agents and club CEO’s over the coming weeks.
The ARLC head told the newspaper “Integrity is not negotiable and it’s got to be at the highest possible standard.”
Lawyer and NRL accredited agent Michael Redpath is part of a new breed of player managers. He looking beyond the traditional heartlands for recruits and has firm views on providing a holistic service to his players as founder and director of Strive Player Agency. However he is adamant he hasn’t encountered unethical behaviour when dealing with others in his profession.
“Every player manager that I have been in contact with has been respectful and courteous thus far so I cannot say otherwise,” Redpath told Everything Rugby League.
“Personally, one of the main reasons I became a player manager was to uphold ethical and moral standards that player managers are entrusted with. I wish to set an example for the profession by remaining honest and transparent at all times with both clubs, players and the governing body.”
Reports have surfaced of clubs being ‘gouged’ by unscrupulous managers looking to get the best deal for their clients and consequently themselves whatever the cost to the club and game.
However Redpath, who is based in Canberra and a passionate rugby league fan, says that while the interests of his clients come first it is still possible for both parties to walk away satisfied with negotiations.
“The interests of the players that I manage is paramount, provided that both the players and I are preserving the rules of the NRL. I believe that there are ways in which a beneficial outcome can be achieved by all parties to a transaction, however it is my players who will always take priority.”
Cameroon Rugby League recently announced a partnership with StrivePlayer Agency with the aim of providing development and opportunities for their growing number of participants in the sport.
“I was shown footage of people from Cameroon playing rugby league and really embracing the sport. You could see that the athleticism and work ethic was evident in the players despite how raw the skills and general gameplay appeared. It made me think that with proper training and opportunities abroad there could be some great talent produced in Cameroon and the continent of Africa in years to come.
“I reached out to the team manager of the Cameroon team to learn more about their systems of work and how I could get involved. In years to come as the talent and skills of the players in Cameroon develop then I can look into getting their very best players contracts in overseas leagues such as in Australia. Once a few of their players begin competing at high levels then it will inspire others to try their hand at the sport.
“With adequate resources and funding, I would say Africa could definitely be the next frontier in producing rugby league talent.”
Athlete mental health and well-being is an important issue across all sports and Strive’s services to clients go beyond just the negotiating table.
“Player wellbeing and mental health are some of the most important and underrated issues that players face. Where possible, I try to help the players that I manage in all facets of their life outside of the game so come training or game day they are able to focus on playing football.
“For instance, I currently work with a colleague who can offer my players fitness and nutrition plans. I also provide free generalised legal advice where I can to my players as part of my service.”