Upgrades to homes ‘ nothing unusual’
BUILDER and former North Queensland Cowboys player Martin Locke has admitted to not charging for certain upgrades while building Cowboys players’ houses, but denied it was “mates’ rates”.
Mr Locke, previously a business development manager with the club, has built houses for several Cowboys players on land bought from club chairman Laurence Lancini.
The Martin Locke Homes owner, who has a corporate box at 1300SMILES Stadium, said there were no discounts for players but admitted upgrading some aspects of the houses for no additional charge.
“It’s no more than I’d give someone else – I wanted to help out those who are close to me that I care about,” he said.
“When someone has put their trust in you, I do give a bit extra – a few extras here and there, little things like laminated tops to stone tops. People who aren’t players get gifts from me.
“They’re not given any special discounts that anybody else I care about. I wouldn’t call them mates’ rates.”
Mr Lancini said Mr Locke’s work was within the guidelines as it was never used as an inducement to sign a contract.
“Our players use a lot of ( businesses) who are sponsors,” he said.
“What would be the benefit of being a sponsor of a collective group if we didn’t influence people in the Cowboys family to utilise sponsors?”
In a statement to the Sydney Morning Herald, NRL media and communications boss Peter Grimshaw said there was no problem with someone from the club advising a player on investment opportunities.
“However, it would be a breach if the player was offered a financial benefit which he didn’t pay for [ and] which was not declared,” he said.