It’s the career change that is going to shake up rugby league: Phil Gould, the game’s No.1 analyst, former Origin coach, former boss of Penrith and premiership-winning coach is on the verge of becoming a player agent.
It’s a move that will change the player-management landscape and add to the power Gould already wields.
It’s a shock move from one of the most influential men in the sport, but he has thought long and hard about it and will try to get accredited in the next agent intake in April. He has talked to the NRL and was told there is nothing in his way.
Gould has already started putting a team together to launch his venture, and he wants it to be a one-stop shop for players. The company will deal with contracts, finances, legal issues and player welfare, areas he has already dealt with in his role as club coach and club boss. He wants to manage every aspect of players’ lives – including their social media, image and something other managers can’t dream of offering, coaching. When it comes to motivation, there is no one better and his clients will get the benefit of that.
Gould has sought the advice of the man who managed him, Wayne Beavis, and he has thrown his support behind the move. Gould helped recruit Beavis his biggest star, Brad Fittler, and others as he built his business. Now Gould is going to start from scratch.
It’s an amazing move given he could have gone into coaching or run a club. Instead he thinks the management of players needs to be done differently and has seen a gap in the market.
Beavis has retired and there are other agents, including Isaac Moses, who are facing sanctions from the NRL. Moses was issued with a breach notice in December asking him to “show cause why his accreditation should not be suspended or cancelled”.
There are also rumours long-time agent Steve Gillis may sell his business, while other well-established agents are considering retirement in the next few years.
Gould would be pitted against established companies and individuals such as SFX (George Mimis, Paul Sutton and Darryl Mather), Sam Ayoub, David Riolo, Allan Gainey and Chris Orr but thinks he can carve out his own market share.
Gould will also seek to manage players from other sports, celebrities and media figures.