The dealmaker: The recruitment process

We try to maintain a lean roster at PFSM with lads that have the right attitude, that’s the number one thing we look for in a player. We have had some good players in the past with terrible attitudes and it’s no surpirise when they tumble down the leagues, it’s never their fault though of course.

There is nothing better than working with a player who is talented, has a great work ethic and is focused. We have had a few where we have been able to progress their career up the leagues and put them in a better positon financially and career-wise, that is a very satisfying part of the job.

We are always looking to recruit the right type of player, at PFSM we are big advocates of the Championship and League 1. There is some fantastic talent if you look hard enough in these leagues. One of my bug bears is clubs in Super League will look to Australia to bring in some guy who was played a handful of first-grade games on decent money, rather than saying to a lad in the Championship here is 20K come and prove yourself. All these guys want is a chance and if more gave them that I am sure they would pay off more than not, just look at Chris Hill and Alex Walmsley.

One coach who has impressed me is Rohan Smith. Rohan said to me at a meeting recently: “If there is anyone you think is worth me watching let me know and I’ll jump in my car and go watch”. Literraly no one has ever said that to me before. In this country in my opinion some clubs are lazy in their recruitment. It’s easier for the bigger clubs because they have scouting networks in place so players are regularly flagged upto them, in particlaur Wigan and Saints are good at this.

It’s great to see the two Hull clubs have football managers in Motu and JP, and Wakefield from next year too. Focusing full-time on recruitng players, not just that but identyfing future targets and monitoring these players. Every NRL club has a full-time recruitment manager, they are always on the phone to us asking about players and planning ahead for years to come. It’s a great model and it would be great if all our clubs could follow suit.

Once again it all boils down to money, but if you took an ex-scout, player or even an agent and paid them say £30K per year for a full-time role, I guarantee if you got the right person they could not only save a club £30K per year in bad signings, but recruit some real diamonds and quality. Currently the coaches just dont have enough time to coach and recruit throughly.

Hull FC are a great example of this , Motu has been pivotal in making some great signings over the past two years enabling Lee Radford to concentrate more on the coaching side of things.

This time of the year we are bombarded with requests from young lads who are getting released from the Under-19s system. It’s tough for them becuase they don’t really have many options if they are good enough and have the right attitude, we will look at taking them on, usually getting them a pay as you play contract with a League 1 or Championship team.

For those that aren’t it’s tough as their only option really is to go back to the amatuer game. We desperatley need to reinstate the reserve system across all teams. Luckily i hear on the grapevine that most clubs will have one next year, especially in Super League.

Brett Norman is an agent with Players First Sports Management (PFSM).

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