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Should I stay or should I go? Agents know best

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"GET me out of here, I can't stand it … I want to be traded!"

It is in hearing these words that an agent's value increases significantly, that his experience comes to the fore.

A player can be so frustrated at the direction his football club is heading that he feels he needs to move to further his career.

Loyal supporters would no doubt like to think these conversations are rare, but in reality they are going on all the time.

An agent's responsibility is to guide his player throughout his career and give him the best opportunities he can through his experiences in the football industry. Sometimes, it is in the player's best interest to stay and rectify the problems; an experienced agent will often talk a player into staying, using such examples as how well the medical team understands his body, regular senior games he is getting, the likelihood that young talent will take the list into September in years to come.

There are many emotions faced during a season and players in particular can over-analyse situations.


A player can find himself out of the side, out of favour and, in some circumstances, with his papers already stamped before the season has got under way. Clubs now have departments to analyse their lists; some employ opposition coaches to monitor the progress of players they wish to acquire.

At this moment, many players would be discussing the possibility of moving to another club, even though this may never eventuate.

The ability last season for players such as Brian Lake to work matters out with the Western Bulldogs showed maturity; the situation whereby Jack Gunston moved from Adelaide to Hawthorn showed experience. Both examples would have involved a great deal of discussion and planning to co-ordinate the appropriate attack long before trade week had started.

At present, Melbourne trio Colin Sylvia, Brent Moloney and Mark Jamar would be exploring their opportunities to further their careers at another club. Their agents, in particular Jamar's, would be facilitating talks with interested parties to provide them with facts about clubs that could offer them a role.

As these players have carried much of the load for a significant amount of time, they would be feeling frustration. An experienced agent will nurture them through this period and assess opportunities.

For a player a trade can be the obvious decision, but the key is not to make a decision when angry. It is the agent's responsibility to educate the player about the new environment and undertake an appropriate list analysis of potential clubs.

The agent must get the best result for the player and not concern him or herself with emotion. The agent is employed by the player and must carry out the instructions given to him regardless of sentiment.

While players are weighing up whether to go home or get away from that constant voice telling them they need to do things differently, they must make the decision based on the outcome for them as a footballer.

An experienced agent will always storybook the appropriate circumstances and reasons for the player to leave. For emotionally charged players high on testosterone, the calming influence of the agent is very valuable.

The Secret Agent is one of the 72 AFL accredited agents.