Off-contract NRL players could be in ‘limbo’ as top player agent faces deregistration


There are concerns some off-contract players may have to confront an uncertain future in the NRL, with a prominent agent facing deregistration from the league.

The NRL has called for Isaac Moses’s registration as a player agent to be cancelled after finding he helped a client lie to the league’s integrity unit.

According to NRL disciplinary proceedings, Moses assisted former Parramatta prop Tim Mannah to give false and misleading evidence to the integrity unit in 2017, reportedly regarding third-party payments within the Eels’ salary cap.

If Moses is deregistered, it could have huge ramifications for players and team lists as they stand, because players could terminate their contracts with the agent.

Players pay Moses a 6 per cent management fee, on which they could also renege.

Moses has denied any wrongdoing and will appeal the decision. He is free to continue as an agent — despite the NRL’s findings — while any appeal process runs its course.

He is one of the most influential figures in the game, with his client base including Melbourne captain Cameron Smith, Parramatta halfback Mitchell Moses, Canberra pair Josh Hodgson and John Bateman and Tigers star Luke Brooks.

Cameron Smith is Isaac Moses’s most high-profile client.(AAP: Brendon Thorne)

But retired New South Wales State of Origin representative Jamie Soward said younger off-contract players, who have been under Moses’s guidance, might be affected by the NRL’s ruling.

He said those players — especially fringe first-graders — could be hindered in the contract negotiation process because of a lack of agent representation.

“The alarming thing is if they’re off-contract, a lot of players that’ve had Isaac as a manager are in limbo,” Soward said.

Soward said less-experienced players benefit from having an agent handle contract negotiations.

“Younger guys will definitely be worried about what to do from here,” he said.

“Contract year is never nice. It’s the manager’s job to ring around for you, especially with the salary cap changing. It’s a tough time if you’re off-contract this year.

Soward, however, said there could be a silver lining for those players.

“[For] a lot of those younger guys who probably weren’t getting the attention the bigger names do, this may be a blessing in disguise,” he said.

“You can go out there, get yourself into the market and get a player agent that suits you.”

Soward said he would welcome the demise of the major player agents.

“The elite player agents have always had a big farm to pick from and get the best (players),” he said.

“Sometimes they’re busy with the top-end guys and there’s a lot of guys that go by the wayside. That’s changing, so player agents aren’t taking on 50 or so clients just by themselves.”

Moses to challenge NRL ruling

Moses’s company, Cove Agency, has refuted the NRL’s findings.

“Cove Agency continues to deny all allegations made against Isaac Moses by the NRL,” Cove said on Instagram.

Brisbane captain Alex Glenn said Moses was confident he would be able to clear his name.

“I spoke to Isaac yesterday when I heard the news and he reassured me that he’s all safe, he’s going to appeal it,” he said.

“I know he represents a lot of us boys but he reassured [me] that all of us lads were in safe hands and he’s not worried about the case that’s happening on his end.

“He reassured myself and other players at this club that we have nothing to worry about.”

Aside from a strong stable of NRL players, Cove also represents NRLW stars Kezie Apps, Ali Brigginshaw and Millie Boyle.

Ali Brigginshaw attempts to break the New Zealand defensive line.
Brisbane Broncos star Ali Brigginshaw is one of three Jillaroos listed as clients on Cove Agency’s website.(AAP: Darren England)

Interim NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo said player agents need to follow the guidelines set by the league.

“Player agents have a very influential role in the game and with the players they represent,” he said.

“Where agents fail to adhere to the standards expected of them, we will intervene to take action under the NRL rules.

“That is what we have done in this case after a thorough investigation by the league’s integrity and compliance unit.”

Cove’s client base also includes Wallabies veteran Kurtley Beale and former NRL stars Matt Bowen and Anthony Minichiello.



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