The dealmaker: Getting down to basics

Our roster of 50 players at PFSM is split between myself and business partner Kevin Bateman.

As an agent there is always something happening, seven days a week and I’m sure some of the boys save up the bad stuff for when I’m on holiday!

Currently we are sorting new clubs and contracts out for our guys that are out of contract for 2017. It’s easier to get some players contracts than others, we work so hard on some lads and I dont think they understand the amount of work that goes into it – from speaking with coaches and CEO’s to getting them to watch the footage that has been clipped up, sometimes just getting hold of the footage is hard enough. 

It’s easier to deal with some clubs more than others, most clubs are great and give you a straight yes or no straight away in particlaur Motu and Lee at Hull, Mike Rush at Saints and Steve and Darryl at Castleford.  Its important that we get that clear answer from a club so that we can rule them out or in, so we can asses the options for the player. It’s also better for the club because it saves me badgering them if I know they aren’t interested.

If it comes back that a club is interested we then get to the question of ‘whats he looking for?’. When you have been an agent for a few years like we have, you can pick what a player is worth quite easily based on positon, quality and experince, sometimes better than the clubs because they only deal with their own players butwe have an overview across the game.

We will ask the player what he is looking for, (bearing in mind we know his value) to be fair most of the time they are’nt too far away, although sometimes we have to just say ‘you have no chance of getting that’.

Before we go any further a meeting will be set up with the coach and/or CEO, this normally involves a Costa or a Starbucks – the home of rugby league. We have to be careful about meeting at the grounds sometimes as some clubs don’t want other players to see who they might be signing.

Players most of the time get quite nervous. We will brief the player on what to expect from the coach, what type of questions etc. We had a meeting with a top Super league club a few weeks ago and how they conducted the meeting was very impressive, the CEO and I went for a chat about numbers and general stuff, whilst the coach and the player welfare officer grilled the player. The CEO told me they like to put the player under pressure and are actually building a profile of the player, to see if he has what it takes to play for such a big club and handle the pressure that comes with it.

So we go back to the club and tell them the figures we are looking for, we always try to be realistic with the clubs, there is no point asking for silly money because they will just tell you where to go. Most deals pass off with a bit of back and forth negioation including clauses, extra appearance money and bonuses.

We then get the contract signed and its sent off to the RFL, a deal done and the player can then focus on the rest of the season knowing that his future is sorted for the following year. I think as fans we tend to forget that these guys will earn the same as the majority of the supporters that turn up to watch every week, can you imaigne having to sign a one-year contract at your work, knowing that you have bills and a family to feed, not knowing if next year you will have a job?  These guys aren’t footballers, we have full-time players on 25,000 per year. It irks me that the guys put their bodies on the line like they do and get paid so little for it.

This is one of the main reasons that the vast majority of players have an agent to source clubs and negioiate new deals, take that stress away from them so they can concentrate on their rugby league.

As agents we get a bad rap from the fans’ perspective, in all fairness though I had the same opinon before I became an agent. Kev and I are just Wakefield fans at heart who wanted to get involved in a game more that we love. The hours you have to put it and the stress it causes aren’t worth it at all, however that moment when one of your lads scores a match-winning try or domiantes a game more than makes up for the stress that your under 90% of the time.

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