Part of Gould’s pitch to players would be that he could operate as a one-stop shop.
His new company would deal with contracts, finances, legal issues and player welfare, all areas he was involved in in his previous role as general manger of Penrith. He could also offer coaching guidance, having coached at the highest level for the Bulldogs, the Roosters, the Panthers and NSW. That would give him a significant edge over his rivals.
“That’s the thing with management – there are so many facets required to allow the player to play to the best of his ability. His experience in the game means he can cover every part of that,” Fittler said.
“The best form of management is one that looks after the player’s best interest. I think Gus would do that. He would put the players first. If he chooses to do it, he would be great for our game.”
Mimis has a professional relationship with Gould but, as one of the best established agents in the game, he stopped short of declaring Gould’s coaching nous as beneficial to his career change.
“At the end of the day, if an agent is coaching footy players, you’re in the wrong business,” Mimis said.
“Clubs are going to be sceptical of that. Helping kids through pathways and giving them more knowledge of the game, sure.
“But I’m not sure players arriving to training and listening to their agent instead of their coach will be well received by the industry.
“Gus is smart and savvy enough to know that. He has an immense knowledge of the game but agencies like ours tap into some of the greatest minds the game has seen as well.”
While Mimis didn’t think Gould’s coaching nous would be the key to any potential success as an agent, he did say he would welcome the 61-year-old into the ranks, despite the threat he might pose in the near future.
“I think it’s wonderful. Our industry needs high quality people like Gus involved. That’s the industry – if you’re not competitive your business will die.
Having Gould involved in player-management would also help with the image problem agents have faced in recent years.
Late last year, two of the game’s most powerful agents – Isaac Moses and Gavin Orr – were handed breach notices by the NRL after the former allegedly advised a player to not co-operate with the NRL Integrity Unit and the latter knowingly helped breach the salary cap.
“I think the industry is a soft target at times,” Mimis said. “When you look through the history of sport – not just rugby league – agents and agencies are almost always scrutinised from a negative perspective.
“Not from the perspective of building lives and careers and longevity in sport – that’s ultimately what we are trying to do.
“But you are going to have agitations between stakeholders and you’re not going to necessarily agree with everyone along the way.
“There’s no doubt at the moment we have too many agents with accreditation and that will play out over time with the new accreditation system.
“But having people like Gus involved can only be a good thing.”
Sam is a sports reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.