A closer eye now kept on player agents

Townsville Bulletin - - Voice Of The North -

GREATER pub­lic scrutiny is now oc­cur­ring around the be­hav­iour of player agents in the Na­tional Rugby League and the Aus­tralian Foot­ball League. It fol­lows the de­ci­sion yes­ter­day to with­draw the ac­cred­i­ta­tion for two years of AFL player agent Ricky Nixon over his ‘‘ in­ap­pro­pri­ate per­sonal re­la­tion­ship’’ with a 17-year-old girl who had made a se­ries of al­le­ga­tions against play­ers he rep­re­sented. The girl filmed Nixon in a ho­tel room dressed only in his un­der­pants and claimed the pair were in an on­go­ing sex­ual re­la­tion­ship and had taken drugs to­gether. The sus­pen­sion came af­ter Mel­bourne QC David Gal­bally made damn­ing find­ings against Nixon, 47, af­ter in­ves­ti­gat­ing his re­la­tion­ship with the girl, Kim Duthie. Mr Gal­bally found Nixon had lied to play­ers he rep­re­sents about his re­la­tion­ship with Duthie, that he lacked in­tegrity and had failed to meet the re­quire­ments of an ac­cred­ited player agent. Nixon’s fall from grace comes as the NRL faces its own trou­bles, with three player agents un­der in­ves­ti­ga­tion over their al­leged role in the Storm salary cap rort. The NRL is also wait­ing anx­iously on the out­come of court ac­tion over the al­leged bet­ting sting on a North Queens­land Cow­boys-Can­ter­bury Bull­dogs game in Au­gust last year. Player man­ager Sam Ay­oub, 49, and for­mer player John Elias, 48, have been charged with at­tempt­ing to de­fraud a bet­ting agency. Two Townsville men in­clud­ing bar owner Joel Soli­nas are also be­ing ques­tioned by po­lice. Player agents wield enor­mous in­flu­ence and power as high-pro­file play­ers jockey for the best deal pos­si­ble, us­ing their agents to ne­go­ti­ate with clubs. The Nixon case and the NRL bet­ting sting strike at the heart of rugby league and Aussie Rules. While player be­hav­iour will al­ways be watched closely, it is vi­tal that the con­duct of the men who rep­re­sent these role mod­els is of the high­est stan­dard.

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