The man with the Mi­das touch

Wayne Beavis is to player man­age­ment what Thurston is to half­backs

Rugby League Week - - News - BY GE­OFF PRENTER

THE PLAY­ERS RE­FER TO him as “Mr Mil­lions”. Mil­lions for them, not nec­es­sar­ily him­self.

Wayne Beavis is the game’s most af­flu­ent and in­flu­en­tial player man­ager. He’s en­joyed the pin­na­cle of suc­cess for the past 30 years. His lat­est catch, Jar­ryd Hayne, is just another feather in a cap weighted down with an il­lus­tri­ous list of clients that in­cludes the cream of the NRL’s coaches.

Hayne, un­til last week, was the big­gest meal ticket any man­ager could dream of. Now, fol­low­ing the rev­e­la­tions he was mix­ing with an al­leged bikie to whom he re­port­edly handed over $5000 in cash, he may not be the com­mer­cial wind­fall Beavis had in mind.

When I speak to Beavis after the front-page head­line in The Daily

Tele­graph screamed “Hayne the gang star”, he says, “One mo­ment Jar­ryd is prais­ing the virtues of Je­sus Christ, the next he’s mix­ing with bikie gangs.

“I told him that I couldn’t choose his friends but sug­gested he be more se­lec­tive.”

But Beavis took is­sue with some of the al­le­ga­tions. “Much of the story has been news­pa­per hype,” he says. “Jar­ryd, for a start, wouldn’t have had $5000 on him. He doesn’t get ac­cess to that type of money.”

A for­mer sec­re­tary-man­ager of a build­ing so­ci­ety and a board mem­ber of the Can­ter­bury Bull­dogs, Beavis has a knack for earn­ing his clients the big­gest dol­lar avail­able. And his cut. What do you say – 25, 20, or the uni­ver­sally ac­cepted Mr 10 per cent?

Way off the mark. Try six per cent, and it’s been that since the day he signed his first client, Bull­dogs en­forcer David Gille­spie. So, let’s cut to the chase. What does he do to pocket him­self that money? “I tell the par­ents of a young player or any po­ten­tial client I can do ev­ery­thing but two things. “I can’t train for them nor can I play for them,” says the big man af­fec­tion­ately known as “The Beaver”.

“But I can get them a nice girl if they need a chap­er­one, I can in­vest wisely for them, I can ob­tain lu­cra­tive spon­sor­ships and I can get them a club that will make sure they will have moral sup­port.

THE GOULD STAN­DARD Wayne Beavis has en­joyed a long and fruit­ful as­so­ci­a­tion with Phil Gould.

“If they want a car, they will have one. If they want coun­sel­ing, they will get the best. If they want men­tor­ing – and most do – that’s read­ily avail­able. It’s not all about how much money they can get. It’s how best you have some­thing to help you at the end of the day.

“I pro­vide as­set man­age­ment thanks to a smart bunch of blokes who I em­ploy to han­dle in­vest­ments and at­tend to le­gal work such as con­tracts with clubs and spon­sors.

“Young play­ers have many temp­ta­tions thrust upon them, es­pe­cially if they’re earn­ing around the $500,000-a-sea­son mark. That’s where I step in and of­fer the best ad­vice I can pro­vide.

“But it must be re­mem­bered the $500,000-a-sea­son deals have only been in the game for the past five years. Prior to that, play­ers weren’t blessed with small for­tunes.

“To­day a player who com­mands a fee be­tween $300,000 and $500,000 is strongly ad­vised to have a pro­fes­sional man­ager by his side. There are so many de­mands on the mod­ern-day player that un­less he has a man­ager to field the dozens of re­quests he gets through­out a day, his game can sub­se­quently suf­fer.”

Beavis isn’t fish­ing for new clients. He has a full book but he’s crit­i­cal of the lack of sup­port the NRL of­fers play­ers.

“The NRL runs the game like a busi­ness and not as a prod­uct, as they should,” he says.

“There are too many re­stric­tions placed on play­ers when it comes to earn­ing a liv­ing. Take a look at the Cow­boys. They pay Johnathan Thurston $1 mil­lion. That leaves $6 mil­lion for the other 24 play­ers – $250,000 per player.

“Yet Thurston is grossly un­der­paid. He should be get­ting $2 mil­lion a year for the en­ter­tain­ment he pro­vides the game.

“The salary cap needs a boost and the third-party agree­ments should be en­cour­aged, not stunted. A player who earns $600,000 a sea­son is left

“One mo­ment Jar­ryd is prais­ing the virtues of Je­sus, the next he’s mix­ing with bikie gangs”

with how much after tax? $400,000 if they’re lucky. Third-party agree­ments can prop them up.

“The NRL is para­noid about third-party agree­ments. Don’t they re­alise there are only so many a player can fur­nish? “Isn’t it more ap­pro­pri­ate fi­nan­cial man­age­ment to en­cour­age third-party spon­sors than to steer them in another di­rec­tion, such as the AFL?”

Beavis is amazed that the NRL doesn’t have its own bank, su­per­an­nu­a­tion fund and mer­chan­dis­ing com­pany.

“They’re star­ing a gift horse in the mouth by not adopt­ing these fi­nan­cial wind­falls,” he says. “The NRL will soon re­ceive $5 bil­lion from tele­vi­sion deals. Why de­posit that in a bank with min­i­mal in­ter­est? Why not es­tab­lish the NRL Bank? There would be no short­age of funds and cer­tainly no short­age of clients. An NRL su­per­an­nu­a­tion fund would do like­wise.”

Beavis would like to see the NRL do more re­lat­ing to player wel­fare.

“The NRL needs to fo­cus more on the ed­u­ca­tion of play­ers so that they have some­thing to keep them oc­cu­pied once the full-time whis­tle blows,” he urges.

I asked Beavis how de­mand­ing the lot of a player man­ager is.

“Ex­tremely chal­leng­ing,” he reck­ons. “Play­ers ex­pect you to be on call 24/7 – and gen­er­ally you are, es­pe­cially in the case of Jar­ryd, who was ne­go­ti­at­ing with so many dif­fer­ent peo­ple in Amer­ica.

“There are times when you have to give a client a tune-up. Re­minds them of their obli­ga­tions to their spon­sor and their club.

“I feel I was able to give Jar­ryd the sup­port he needed after Par­ra­matta gave him a black eye. They treated him poorly and about as un­pro­fes­sion­ally as you would en­counter. Jar­ryd is a young man who con­tin­u­ally chal­lenges him­self – and with that, chal­lenges me!

“But he has been golden, lit­er­ally. Ex­tremely tal­ented and ex­tremely gifted but now prob­a­bly in need of that tune-up I men­tioned.”

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