Yesterday, Sam Ayoub was charged at Campsie police station with attempt to obtain financial advantage by deception. Meanwhile, his business offices in Leichhardt were being raided by police.
It was an ignominious and embarrassing scene for one of the NRL’s leading player managers, who has a constellation of stars on his books including Cowboys captain Johnathan Thurston, Dragons five-eighth Jamie Soward, Tigers captain Robbie Farah and Bulldogs sensation Jamal Idris.
The 49-year-old agent is still allowed to represent his clients despite yesterday’s events.
That could end in a fortnight, however, when the NRL Agent Accreditation Committee meets.
Given that he might only have a two-week window in which to operate, there were suggestions yesterday that Ayoub would try to push through the deal with 20-year-old Idris, who is being heavily courted by the Knights’ prospective billionaire owner Nathan Tinkler.
Questions were also being raised about what the charges meant for Dragons coach Wayne Bennett and his future.
It has been speculated for weeks that Ayoub has been acting for Bennett, who is off contract after this season and being chased by several NRL clubs.
Bennett had no comment on the matter yesterday, but The Daily Telegraph has been told the relationship extends no further than Ayoub making an approach to South Sydney six months ago about the possibility of the mastercoach heading to Redfern.
Bennett is an ally of the colourful former player John Elias, who is a friend of Ayoub’s and who was arrested at Punchbowl and later charged with the same offence. Elias has also strenuously denied any wrongdoing.
Ayoub represents many NRL stars – but also some of its most maligned.
Ayoub’s players love him. And he’s renowned for loving the high life with them.
His pin-up boy is undoubtedly Thurston.
When Thurston was deemed too small for first grade, Ayoub heavily lobbied every club and finally got him a start at the Bulldogs.
Now he’s a two-time Dally M Medallist.
So close are the pair, the Cowboys playmaker was dragged into the imbroglio concerning the game against the Bulldogs last year.