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Thread: Force fears Brumbies have Giteau (interesting take!)

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    Force fears Brumbies have Giteau (interesting take!)

    Haven't seen this posted, but thought I would have. Some very interesting observations....!

    Force fears Brumbies have Giteau
    Wayne Smith, Rugby union editor | February 21, 2009
    ORIGINAL HERE (The Australian)

    THE Brumbies have been talking all week about how much they always enjoy hosting tonight's opponent, the Crusaders, a team they feel brings out the best in them.

    Sadly the same can't be said of next week's opponent.

    Right from the start, there has always been an edge to their matches against the Western Force. It was the ACT's happy lot to oppose the new Perth club in its first Super rugby game in 2006, the Brumbies taking great delight in spoiling the occasion by defeating the Force 25-10 at Subiaco Oval.

    On the field, it was a spirited but friendly affair. But it was all fairly tense up in the hospitality boxes as Force officials blamed former ACTRU chief executive Rob Clarke, by then a senior ARU administrator, of being the main architect of the ARU's decision not to direct any special set-up funds to the new expansion franchise.

    Whether the Force blamed the right man is another matter. Whatever, the ARU's refusal to provide Rugby WA with any extra assistance was to have massive ramifications for the game in Australia.

    Effectively it left foundation Force boss Peter O'Meara with no alternative but to buck the system and flout the then unwritten protocols by, at the very least, playing the middle man in facilitating third-party deals by introducing player managers to prospective benefactors.

    This is precisely how Matt Giteau's former manager, Greg Keenan, came to meet the now disgraced Firepower owner Tim Johnston.

    O'Meara, who was pretty much hung out to dry for doing what he had to do to make the Perth franchise a Force from scratch, will go to his grave insisting that was all he did where the failed Giteau third-party agreements are concerned - introduce Keenan to Johnston.

    The pity was that O'Meara didn't sit in on their meetings. Had he done so, he might have brought some sanity to negotiations and averted much of the angst that was to follow when Johnston wasn't able to honour the ridiculously over-the-top offer he had made.

    At the time, it was understood the package being put together in Canberra to keep Giteau at the Brumbies was around $200,000. Suddenly here was Johnston offering double that and then some.

    It's convenient now to paint Johnston entirely as the conman plucking figures out of the air, having no intention of ever honouring them. But back in 2006, when Perth really was the wild, wild West at the height of the mining boom, Johnston probably made the deal in good faith - if bad maths.

    The bottom line, however, was that Giteau packed his bags and followed the sun over to Perth to take up his too-good-to-be-true contract. To their credit, the Brumbies accepted his departure with outward good grace, wishing him well and reminding him that the door was always open if he wanted to return. Privately, there was wailing and the gnashing of teeth.

    Giteau was the player the Brumbies had groomed to steer them through the post-Gregan-Larkham era. Then he was gone and while it's extravagant to say the Brumbies' hopes went with him, the fact is that in 2007 they finished fifth, just two points short of making the play-offs while last year they slumped to ninth but again were only two wins away from the finals. Who would be foolish enough to say that Giteau could not have made up those shortfalls.

    Ironically, one of those narrow defeats last year was the 29-22 loss to a Giteau-inspired Force. How that must have galled. How that must have fired the determination of the Brumbies leadership to get him back.

    Fast forward to the off-season. The tug-of-war between the Force and Brumbies over Australia's best player is starting to turn serious indeed. Giteau, understandably, is less than impressed with his current employers that his Firepower deal has collapsed, effectively leaving him without any third-party deals on top of his Force and ARU contracts for the 2008 and 2009 seasons.

    Enter Johnston's former business partner, Ross Graham, a man with some sympathy for Giteau's plight given that he himself lost $10 million on Firepower. While the rest of Firepower's creditors hang by their fingernails, not knowing how much, if any, of their investment money they will ever see again, Graham makes Giteau what seems a fabulous offer - 66 cents in the dollar of what he is owed by the failed fuel additive company.

    The reported "one time only" deal is both retrospective and ongoing, backdated to cover 2008 and 2009 and projecting forward to 2010 and 2011 when Giteau's contract with the ARU expires. Effectively, it's an offer of $400,000 per season for four years, or $1.6 million.

    It promises to make good a lot of what Giteau has lost and it provides him with ongoing yearly funding at double the rate that, say, Test player Karmichael Hunt is paid by the Brisbane Broncos. Giteau turns it down. Force officials are gobsmacked. When they recover from the shock, they ask themselves an obvious question: Why would he do that?

    Three answers come to mind. The first, and most easily dismissed, is that Giteau is still hoping to play in France.

    Word has it that Giteau indeed does want to play in France, which is still so awash with money even the English clubs are starting to wail that they can't match the Gallic offers.

    But unless John O'Neill relents and releases Giteau from his ARUcontract - which he has shown no inclination to do - the Wallabies' playmaker will have two more years in Australia after this to continue his French lessons.

    The second is that Giteau hopes the Brumbies and Force get locked in a bidding war and drive his price way above what Graham offered. It could yet happen, but in these unstable economic times, it's certainly a bold gamble to take.

    The third answer, the one that disturbs Force officials most of all, is that Giteau's move back to the Brumbies is already a done deal.

    But if that is true, then ACT officials must have pulled up alongside Kevin Rudd at the traffic lights and quickly persuaded the Prime Minister to direct some of the $42 billion stimulus package their way.

    The Firepower shortfall has nothing to do with the Brumbies so there is no need for them to make any retrospective offers to Giteau.

    But the bottom line is Giteau could have received $1.6million to stay in Perth through to the end of 2011 and that's the figure the Brumbies need to come close to. (There is, of course, the possibility that Giteau is prepared to return to Canberra for a little less because that's where his family is based.)

    But in broad terms, the Brumbies need $1.6 million over the next two years, a staggering $800,000 a season, to match Graham's offer. Given that the provincial and ARU payments will be the same wherever Giteau plays, there is only one way the Brumbies can raise that sort of money - through third-party agreements.

    Yet here's the thing. Under ARU protocols, third-party deals can only be sought by a player's manager after the player has signed with his new team. Not before.

    So Force officials, not unreasonably, are suspicious that the Brumbies have unfairly jumped the gun and locked in third-party deals in advance of gaining Giteau's signature. It's a delicious irony because that's what the Force did and was castigated by all concerned, the Brumbies included, for doing so.

    Yet while the Force might live in a glass house, it has surely purchased the right to throw stones. Over the past three years, the ARU has fined the Perth franchise more than $200,000 for breaching its protocols. And it's also a fair bet that an unwritten, unspoken element of the Force punishment was that O'Meara had to go.

    The Force, then, has paid its dues, paid for its crimes. It is entitled to feel that everyone else should be held to the same level of accountability.

    One Brumbies official laughed when this scenario was put to him this week, predictably pulling out the "people in glass houses" line.

    The Force's suspicions, of course, might be entirely misplaced. And even if they are well-founded, they might be impossible to prove. But then there are rumours that Force investigators are closing in on alleged letters from the Brumbies to major corporations seeking support for bringing Giteau back to Canberra.

    Are the letters just another urban myth? Or a ticking time bomb for the Brumbies?

    Should be an interesting match next Saturday. Make sure you don't miss it.

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    Immortal jargan83's Avatar
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    that is an interesting take on the situation.......

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    Veteran mudskipper's Avatar
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    Deals, deals, deals and more deals...

    Wayne Smith missed a point in his summation. Perhaps Giteau wants to grow as a player. Remember he is a sportsman after all. Giteau may feel he can’t grow with Mitchell as coach. Perform and the money will come. He will get results at the Brumbies. His manager James Erskine can set up a conga line of sponsors with brand Matt Giteau on the East Coast....

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    Last edited by mudskipper; 23-02-09 at 13:06.

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    Veteran TOCC's Avatar
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    no mudskipper, Giteau is taking a pay cut to move back to Canberra

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    Veteran mudskipper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TOCC View Post
    no mudskipper, Giteau is taking a pay cut to move back to Canberra
    Hair cuts are cheaper I hear in Canberra....

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    Veteran laura's Avatar
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    Enter Johnston's former business partner, Ross Graham
    Sure the bloke lost money as well, but being the former business partner of a guy who lost so many people so much money...any chance that had any affect on Giteau's decision? I'm not saying that Ross Graham is a dodgy bloke or had anything to do with Johnston's stuff up but the relationship could be enough to put some one off taking an offer from him.

    Anyway its been and gone and Giteau's made his decision. It seems he has taken a pay cut, I think that deserves some credit, proves he isn't as money hungry as a lot of people assumed/accused him of being.

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    Veteran mudskipper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by laura View Post
    Sure the bloke lost money as well, but being the former business partner of a guy who lost so many people so much money...any chance that had any affect on Giteau's decision? I'm not saying that Ross Graham is a dodgy bloke or had anything to do with Johnston's stuff up but the relationship could be enough to put some one off taking an offer from him.

    Anyway its been and gone and Giteau's made his decision. It seems he has taken a pay cut, I think that deserves some credit, proves he isn't as money hungry as a lot of people assumed/accused him of being.
    Laura I totally agree with you here... Graham was in partnership with Tim Johnston and not just as a public investor, thats highly questionable…. Add to that Peter O'Meara and John Mitchell also work for ET Mining... You can understand why he didn't want the worry of doing business again with these guys... He doesn't need to risk being associated with these guys again. There is plenty of opportunities in the world for Matt Giteau.

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    Veteran Contributor JediKnight's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mudskipper View Post
    There is plenty of opportunities in the world for Matt Giteau.
    Especially in France!

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    CHEERLEADERS ROCK!!!


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