The NRL is facing a revolt from some of its most powerful player managers over claims rugby union stars Sonny Bill Williams and Quade Cooper are being hawked around the NRL by unaccredited agent Khoder Nasser.
The Australian understands a number of the game’s highest-profile agents are furious at speculation Nasser is flouting the rules by offering Williams and Cooper to NRL clubs as a package deal from 2013.
Cooper is contracted to the Australian Rugby Union next season while Williams is weighing up whether to stay in New Zealand. Both players have been tipped to join the NRL in 2013 when the game is flushed with extra funds thanks to the next broadcasting deal.
The Sydney Roosters loom as the likely destination, given Williams has already been linked with the club. As it stands, Nasser would be unable to do either deal.
He is not accredited by the NRL and as such is unable to negotiate with clubs. One leading player manager, who spoke on the condition of anonymity yesterday, said he and fellow agents would be furious if Nasser were allowed to operate on behalf of Williams and Cooper. “Why should we adhere to all the rules and everything else that they ask us to when there is a rogue bloke running around?” he said. “The clubs aren’t going to say anything because they want the player. Everyone does the deal and then says the player did it himself.
“Both of them are in the middle of a World Cup and they’re being shopped around. Don’t tell me they’re doing it themselves.”
Rumours have been swirling for weeks that Williams and Cooper were being hawked around rugby league clubs. The Australian revealed earlier this year that the Sydney Roosters were primed to make a move for Williams and the speculation has only gathered strength as the club has continued to free up cash for next season.
The latest move came with the decision to end Jason Ryles’s contract a year early, but that was offset by the club’s recruitment of Parramatta half Daniel Mortimer.