A closer eye now kept on player agents
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.