The man with the Midas touch
Wayne Beavis is to player management what Thurston is to halfbacks
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.”