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Judge describes civil trial involving AFL player agent Liam Pickering as 'difficult'

A judge has described the bitter civil trial involving high-profile AFL player agent Liam Pickering and his former boss as "difficult".

Supreme Court Justice Michael Sifris has reserved his decision in a case where he had repeatedly urged the parties involved to try to settle the matter.

Justice Sifris, who revealed he was a Carlton supporter, said the two-week civil trial had involved thousands of documents and the loser was going to have to pay a significant sum in legal costs.

Strategic Management Australia AFL (SMAFL) owner Jason Sourasis is suing Pickering and another player agent, James Pitcher, for damages over alleged lost commissions and endorsement payments after a total of 31 players and coaches terminated their contracts with SMAFL and signed up with the pair's rival management company, Precision Sports and Entertainment Group, in May 2014.

Pickering and Pitcher had joined SMAFL in September 2012 but resigned on May 1, 2014.

The clients who left to go to Precision included Lance Franklin, Gary Ablett, Jack Riewoldt and Dane Swan, and Sydney Swans coach John Longmire. Collingwood captain Scott Pendlebury stayed with SMAFL.


Agents for AFL players and coaches usually receive between 2 per cent to 4 per cent of a client's contract with a particular club, as well as a 20 per cent cut from any endorsement deals organised for clients.

Sourasis had initially sued Pickering and Pitcher for $2.5 million in damages but this has now been reduced to $625,000.

Pickering is counter-suing Sourasis, alleging he engaged in misleading and deceptive conduct and misappropriated funds.

The judge will hand down his decision at a later date.

Mark Russell