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Should I stay or should I go? Agents know best

Date

The Secret Agent

"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.

6 comments so far

  • Melbourne has had Mark Jamar on the list since 2003. His break-out year was 2009, then All Australian 2010. Melbourne kept Jamar on the list for 6 years when he was not even close to getting a game. They persisted with him, coached him, and believed in him when he probably didn't believe in himself. Surely that warrants a bit of loyalty??

    Commenter
    Patto's Demons
    Location
    Bangkok
    Date and time
    May 15, 2012, 11:09AM
    • Patto - while there are people like the nameless secret agent around - what chance does loyalty have.

      Commenter
      Gaz
      Location
      Yarrawonga
      Date and time
      May 15, 2012, 11:37AM
  • Sylvia & Moloney should be careful what they wish for. Brock McLean was playing a similar lack of heart style, chose to move on and has all but disappeared from sight. They need to do their best now, they actually might start to enjoy their footy and will also increase any market value they have.

    Commenter
    deeman
    Location
    mansfield
    Date and time
    May 15, 2012, 11:42AM
    • The difference with Brock is that football has evolved past him. He wouldn't be getting a game at Melbourne either as he lacks the pace to be competitive in the AFL. The others are still playing good football. Sylvia in particular would thrive in a better team (think Ryan O'Keefe in Sydney's dominant era).

      Commenter
      JELL
      Date and time
      May 16, 2012, 10:28AM
  • Got to laugh! When ever I hear the phrase "experienced professional AFL players agent" I always think of Ricky Nixon.

    Commenter
    TJP
    Location
    Cambodia
    Date and time
    May 15, 2012, 1:53PM
    • Agents are crap. Simple. A player knows what he is worth.. And what he can do.

      Commenter
      JM
      Location
      os
      Date and time
      May 15, 2012, 10:11PM

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