Daniel Nichols – What Is The Point Of Signing A Contract?

With reports circulating that English prop Gareth Hock is about to pull out of his deal with the Parramatta Eels, two questions come to mind:

1) Why do players sign for clubs before they are genuinely committed?

2) What’s the point of signing a contract if you can just back out of it later?

Earlier in the season Raider’s star Josh Papalii signed a deal to join the Eels for the 2014 season, only to back out of the deal weeks later. Canberra were stated as ‘not giving up on retaining Papalii’ even weeks after the deal has been signed and announced.

For mine, once the Eels deal was signed, it was just that, a deal. NRL states that a player has up until round 13 to change his mind to remain at his club even after signing a contract with another club.

Why sign a contract if there’s a chance of changing your mind? Surely a club should not be allowed to get into a player’s head after he has signed elsewhere.

I understand circumstances change and thus closing the round 13 loophole will likely never happen. Personal issues can arise and players need to be protected, but what about the clubs effected?

The Eels are now 2 gun forwards down through no fault of their own. Are they entitled to compensation, or is it simply tough luck Parra?

What is stopping players from signing contracts elsewhere only to use it as a bargaining tool to increase an offer from their current club?

There is no suggestion of foul play in either previously mentioned case but there is no doubt that the Eels have been hard done by.

They have based other recruitment and retention decisions on what they thought were done deals. They dropped out of the race to sign Joel Thompson after the capture of Papalii. Of course Joel may have signed for the Dragons either way but the Eels were denied a shot they may have placed more effort in had they not based decisions on thoughts they had signed Papalii.

No doubt the majority will think, ‘who cares? It’s only Parra’ and you certainly won’t see my crying any tears over these developments but imagine if your club signed and announced a player, dropped out of talks with others players, perhaps chosen not to re-sign a player due to having recruited another only for that signing to pull out of the agreed deal?

Parra fans have every right to feel aggrieved. The club has no right to stand in the way of the Papalii backflip and although they may legally be able to block Hock’s expected decision to renege on his deal, what club would force a player who has publically stated his desire not to join the club to do just that. It’s obvious Hock’s mind is elsewhere, thus even if Parra did force him to honour his deal, he may not be 100% committed.

My suggestion is to close the Round 13 loophole. The player should have his mind made up when he signs the contract. Clubs should not be allowed to beat the offer on the table once a contract is signed. If a player chooses to renege on a deal then it is up to the player and the clubs to work it out.

Parra can then hold their ground and be paid compensation or at least given a chance to speak to another player in exchange for releasing Papalii back to the Raiders.

Obviously no club is going to fight over a player who has expressed his desire to play elsewhere but at least they’d be given a chance to gain something from a situation they’d otherwise be left with nothing other than frustration.

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3 thoughts on “Daniel Nichols – What Is The Point Of Signing A Contract?

  1. thats fair enough but with any contract you have a cooling off period. this is to allow the person time to think and make sure they are happy and sure about what they are getting into. sometimes there is pressure on the person and they are coerced to sign in that situation and later realize they really did’nt want that. only later when all the pressure and hype has settled can they see more clearly what is going on. there is a saying that you don’t know what you have until you let it go and maybe they realize once it happens. there is no sense in forcing a person to a situation that they will not be totally happy with. they may find it hard to give 100% when their heat is somewhere else.
    there should be a cooling off period of maybe 21 days and then they have to go along with it. the trouble is with the new cap increase clubs have extra money to throw around and at the moment are offering some big money. players are now tempted and some feel that loyalty is still important. the situation with sonny bill and the bulldogs is different and i agree with that. you cant just walk out midway through a contract and so the bulldogs took legal action. its better for a club to have a player that wants to be there and gives his all to the club than one who is unhappy and their hearts not in it. clubs need to work with the players to sort out any problems so they can get on with playing.

  2. I think one major issue that is not being looked at too much is why players are being pushed into signing contracts by their managers when it seems like the players are not 100% committed to the teams they’ve signed for.

  3. they are pressured and tempted by the money i would imagine. the managers will be pushing for the best deal for their client as they will get more commission. the players are lured by the dollar and its hard to say no to a lot of money at the time even if it means going to a club they don’t really want to. afterwards they probably begin to realize that maybe it wasn’t the best idea when the reality sets. like in papillis case he realized he was happier at the raiders when he had to tell his team mates. Hennant came to the dogs and there was word that he wasn’t happy leaving Brisbane and his family were finding it hard, the dogs allowed him out of his final year as he wasn’t happy there. in that case the player and club came to an agreement. the club plays a part as well because if they may find it hard to match the offer to keep the player due to the cap. a club with more cap space can come in and up the offer and make it hard for the existing club to keep their players. penrith are a good example of letting big name stars go and buy some cheaper players with potential who wanted to play for them. better to have a up and coming player who wants to be their and give 1105 than a overpriced player who only wants the money and may not turn out so good because their hearts not in it ie Chris Sandow, his heart was with the rabbits and they discovered him and all his friends are there.
    maybe they should have more discounts and concessions for clubs to keep the players they put so much time and money into developing. maybe they should have a market value for players so that their prices don’t get over inflated. like x amount for a rep player and x amount for a 5 year player ect. some say we should have a draft system like the AFL but im not sure players would like to be put in a draft and sent to a club they dont choose. it would make it fairer by spreading the talent but i think the teams have a pretty good spread of talent across the NRL. nowadays most teams are capable of beating each other so the teams are all becoming closer in standard.

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