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‘Life first and money second’: Rogers eyes role as player agent

“I managed myself for the last eight years of my career and would constantly have players asking me if they were making the right decisions all based on a manager’s advice.

‘‘I don’t want to bag other players agents, it’s not my go, I’ll just be sure to put the player’s life first and money second.

‘‘I learnt some very valuable lessons during my career form some very smart people. Timing is everything and it’s not always about the money. I’ve seen careers ruined for a few extra bucks, but that’s not to say we won’t fight for our clients. I can assure you numbers on a contract are simply that. The whole picture needs to be brought into focus and that’s where I think our experience will help tremendously.”

Mat Rogers

Mat RogersCredit:Getty

Rogers will be teaming up with former NRL player Colin Ward and his financial company Tempus Wealth. Former Waratahs and Sydney University captain, barrister Michael Maxwell of Ada Evans Chambers will provide legal advice. Also part of the business will be Craig Clifton – who was a close mate of Rogers’ dad Steve and a trainer at St George and Cronulla.

“We want potential clients to know the professionals associated with us have walked their path and understand what it’s like to be in their shoes,’’ Rogers said.

‘‘We have both lived and breathed rugby league our whole life. Craig’s experience with young men, his relationships in rugby league and his background in law enforcement – 20 years as a police officer and six years in juvenile justice – creates a platform that will help us launch young men and women on the right path and keep them there.”

Loophole could soften Moses ban

The NRL is under increasing pressure to close a loophole which would allow partners or family members of banned agents to operate as player representatives.

This comes after the NRL provisionally suspended the accreditation of controversial player agent Isaac Moses. Moses has a cousin who works for his company, Stephen Moses, who is also an accredited agent.

The NRL knows it will look foolish if Isaac is eventually wiped out as an agent, but a family member can run the business with the banned agent still benefiting. The suspension was handed down after the NRL confirmed Moses had breached his obligations as an agent in 2017. This column was told Moses encouraged Tim Mannah to give false evidence to the NRL integrity unit about a third-party payment – believed to be valued about $80,000-$100,000.

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Mannah also encountered another issue – his email was hacked. An email was sent from Mannah’s address by someone in Moses’ office. That email put the NRL off the manager’s scent. Moses denied he sent the email when I asked him via text. In fact he denied wrongdoing on any front. Here are some of the questions and his replies:

DW: Why did Tim Mannah report you to the integrity unit?
IM: That is a matter for Tim Mannah to explain. I can’t comment as it is a subject of a hearing.
DW: Did you log into Mannah’s email and send emails as him?
IM: No.

The ban, which Moses is challenging, has seen questions asked about the nature of his relationship with the Eels’ recruitment boss at the time, Peter Nolan, as well as their ongoing association since Nolan’s return to the Broncos. This column is aware of eight players who left their agents and joined Moses while at the Broncos, including Tevita Pangai and Josh McGuire. I put a number of questions to Nolan via text, which he answered.

DW: Can you explain why Parramatta and Brisbane, when you have been at those clubs, have had so many Moses-managed players?
PN: Isaac Moses had a lot of players at Parramatta when I arrived there. He lived there and worked with the club closely before I arrived there. That is a well-known fact. He currently has eight players on our books at the Broncos. Other management companies have six and four players, and the rest are spread across a large number of agents. We currently have the best spread of players-to-manager ratio in the last 20 years at the Broncos.
DW: Do you direct either non-contracted or contracted
players when they come into your sphere to Moses.
PN: Never once have I directed a player to any agent.
DW: Have you ever had a relationship with Moses which has benefited you financially?
PN: Never once have I benefited financially from Isaac Moses. (Moses backs this)
DW: Which players have you helped place with Moses in order to move them out of the club?
PN: I have never helped place players with Isaac Moses or any other agent for that matter.
DW: Did you act as an NRL informant or whistle-blower during the investigation into Parramatta’s salary-cap [breach in 2016].
PN: Never once. I was interviewed three times and records of those interviews have been viewed by many members of the media.
DW: Are you aware that agents will now try to avoid placing players at your club because of your relationship with Moses? They fear losing those players.
PN: We never have a problem with agents placing players at our club. That is confirmed by the spread of agents we have across our current playing squad.
DW: Are you aware of Anthony Seibold attending meetings with Moses to recruit players for Moses to sign to his stable?
PN: That has never happened. Anthony has never, ever been involved in recruiting players for Isaac Moses. (Moses backs this)
DW: Is your club aware of your relationship with Moses?
PN: Some of our board and senior executive team have dealings
and/or a professional relationship with Isaac Moses, as I do. We have a similar relationship with most agents. There is nothing to hide there from anyone, myself included.

GRAN STAND EFFORT

James Tedesco is the game’s premier player – and when he played on Monday night his biggest supporter was there with him. Well sort of. This picture shows him being watched by Teresa Papandrea – his 100-year-old great grandmother. The family are hoping to get her to a game soon.

James Tedesco with his 100-year-old great grandmother Teresa Papandrea on a cardboard cut-out in background.

James Tedesco with his 100-year-old great grandmother Teresa Papandrea on a cardboard cut-out in background.Credit:Getty

ANDRE THE GIANT

The true powerbroker at the Newcastle Knights is certainly not club CEO Phil Gardner. He had no say in how the club’s greatest coup – the resigning of Kalyn Ponga – was going to be announced to the media. Kalyn’s dad Andre is the one who calls the shots in Newcastle. He invited a select group of reporters to a zoom press conference. It showed just how much the Knights were willing to bend for their superstar.

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Gardner was a broken man by the time Kalyn put pen to paper – he called it a “torturous” experience when I spoke to him. Kalyn spoke beautifully at the announcement and could have handled any reporter – friendly or not.

The only thing which didn’t go to plan was an embargo on the announcement to coincide with a Fox program so they could trumpet it, as they pay Ponga a considerable whack. But Herald reporter Michael Chammas broke the news of the signing two hours before it was due to happen. He wasn’t on the zoom hook-up.

BUNNIES HOPPING MAD

Fox Sports’ decision to show Latrell Mitchell’s dressing-room tears has left the Rabbitohs fuming and they have let the NRL know.

Souths boss Blake Solly has fired off an email to the NRL questioning the decision to air the footage. More than that, Souths have challenged the NRL’s and the broadcasters’ rights to show the vision. In the contract the broadcasters “must not capture injured players, players receiving treatment or nudity”.

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Souths will argue that players’ mental health should fall into the injured category. Souths players wore black armbands last week and it was not really noticed. It related to a very difficult family issue that devastated the family of former Souths player Buddy Gordon and his wife and that has had an impact on the entire playing group. Mitchell has also experienced some personal loss in recent times.

MOMENT OF TRUTH

Craig Bellamy considers Dean Pay a mate. It’s why he contacted him during the week to set the record straight about the “approach” the Bulldogs made him. “I didn’t read the story but I was told about it and I imagine that would put a lot of pressure on Dean and his family,” Bellamy said. “It’s why I rang him and left him a message to tell him there was no contact between me and the Bulldogs and I’m not hiding behind a manager making contact because I don’t have one at the moment. So I don’t know where the story came from and I would have thought someone would have called to ask me about it.”

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