Nixon low on op­tions

Townsville Bulletin - - Bizfi Nd -

YOU’D think that Ricky Nixon would have to be pretty smart to be one of the top dogs on the AFL totem pole.

Wrong. This week, the player agent was told by his gov­ern­ing as­so­ci­a­tion that he had seven days to think of a rea­son why he shouldn’t be punted straight out of the game.

Ac­cord­ing to the find­ings of an AFL P l a y e r s A s s o c i a t i o n a g e n t ac­cred­i­ta­tion board probe, Nixon failed to act with hon­esty and in­tegrity and was found guilty of con­duct un­be­com­ing and also of bring­ing him­self and other player agents into dis­re­pute.

Not a pretty re­port card. But he should at least have been given one A+ . . . for sheer stu­pid­ity.

Nixon was brought un­done be­cause he started sniff­ing around a St Kilda school­girl with an axe to grind and an in­abil­ity to sep­a­rate truth from fan­tasy. In short, Blind Freddy could see she is trou­ble with a cap­i­tal T.

Her now largely dis­cred­ited an­tics are well doc­u­mented and not worth re­hash­ing for the umpteenth time. Suf­fice it to say a lit­tle pro­fes­sional help would go a long way in her case.

But one can only ask whether Nixon was so driven by his re­cently ad­mit­ted sub­stance abuse that he was bliss­fully un­aware of the ram­i­fi­ca­tions of his ac­tions . . . or was he driven by an over­dose of testos­terone fu­elling a mid-life cri­sis?

What­ever. As a 47-year-old man, his con­duct was rash and op­por­tunis­tic and it is hardly sur­pris­ing that his was a dal­liance that didn’t have the fa­bled happy end­ing. NIXON, it seems, may not be the only player agent who has been a bit naughty.

The NRL has had its share of prob­lems as well. First up there are the al­le­ga­tions against Sam Ay­oub who has been im­pli­cated in the match­fix­ing scan­dal which erupted af­ter last sea­son’s game be­tween the Cow­boys and Bull­dogs at Dairy Farm­ers Sta­dium.

Ay­oub has yet to have his day in court and the al­le­ga­tions against him have still to be proven. But it’s not a good look.

Then there are high-pro­file player agents David Ri­olo, Ge­orge Mimis, Isaac Moses and Al­lan Gainey who have been told to show cause why their ac­cred­i­ta­tion shouldn’t be can­celled or sus­pended for the part they al­legedly played in the salary cap breaches that brought the Mel­bourne Storm un­done last sea­son.

Per­haps there’s a lot to be said about the stance of vet­eran Bronco Corey Parker who hasn’t had an agent since 2003. Ba­si­cally, Parker says, he doesn’t need a bloke tak­ing be­tween 5 and 7 per cent of his pay packet for set­ting up a deal he’s quite ca­pa­ble of do­ing him­self.

A more ex­treme view was taken by News Lim­ited chief ex­ec­u­tive John Har­ti­gan who, at the height of the Storm erup­tion, la­belled rugby league player agents ’’ mis­fits’’ and a ’’ blight on the game’’.

He added to those com­ments two weeks ago when he said: " My views on player agents have not changed, u n s u r p r i s i n g l y t h e y h a v e o n l y hard­ened af­ter re­cent events.

" Grubby deals will con­tinue un­til there’s greater trans­parency of their be­hav­iour."

Harsh words. But they needed to be said and the fact that gov­ern­ing as­so­ci­a­tions are not sweep­ing ap­par­ent in­dis­cre­tions un­der the car­pet is a step in the right direc­tion.

It’s just a pity that, all too of­ten, they only seem to act af­ter the horse has bolted. IT’S al­ways sad to see an Aus­tralian cricket cap­tain hit­ting the wall.

But few have done it quite as pub­licly as Ricky Ponting whose petu­lant be­hav­iour over a con­tested catch at the World Cup this week was not a good look.

There’s no doubt that Ponting in his prime was a ter­rific bats­man, one of the finest, and he wasn’t a bad cap­tain ei­ther. The time, how­ever, has come for him to con­sider his fu­ture. He is clearly un­rav­el­ling and, while there is un­for­tu­nately no real heir ap­par­ent in Aus­tralian cricket at the mo­ment, he re­ally should take the op­tion of re­tir­ing while his dig­nity is in­tact.

Ob­servers say he’s lost it be­cause he is un­der too much stress.

Maybe, but aren’t Aus­tralian cap­tains meant to keep a stiff up­per lip at all times?

One could be a bit char­i­ta­ble and sug­gest this week’s out­burst was not brought on purely by the long-term stress of the job. There is a pos­si­bil­ity the sim­mer­ing un­der­cur­rent boiled to the sur­face as he watched the pick of Aus­tralia’s pace at­tack be­ing blasted to all parts of the ground by a 19-year-old Cana­dian park crick­eter – that I could un­der­stand!

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