RICKY NIXON, the Australian sports agent responsible for bringing Tadhg Kennelly, Martin Clarke, and Colm Begley to the AFL admitted that of the 23 players that attended Monday’s screening camp in Dublin, at least “three to five of those will be offered contracts.”
Nixon, who has been widely condemned by GAA hierarchy in the past, also believes that he was “doing nothing wrong” by hosting the camp. He also intimated that he hoped what he was doing “would make the GAA sit up, take note, and do more for the younger players in Ireland.”
“I don’t work for the GAA, I’m not from the GAA, they didn’t talk to me and I didn’t talk to them, nobody knew I was in Ireland and I don’t want to get into it (that debate) again,” he added.
Nixon returned to Australia yesterday but not before stating that the method of recruitment this time round would be “different to other years.”
“It’s a two-step process we’re doing which will be different to other years. Before, what happened was we took a look at players, offered them contracts, they then went out to Oz and for whatever reason they just didn’t adjust to life out there.”
However, this time he admitted the players will be given the opportunity to travel down under before putting any pen to paper.
“We’re going to take them out there, we’ll let them around Melbourne for a little while and if they like it and we’re impressed we’ll be offering them contracts.”
He added that the reason for this was to help the players “get a feel” for Melbourne as well as get used to the “media scrutiny” that goes with signing new players.
Scouts from Geelong, St. Kilda, Richmond, Brisbane, and Northen Melbourne were present at Monday’s camp, which took place behind closed doors.
An intense six-hour examination of each player’s individual attributes was undertaken, while ball sessions, kicking sessions and speed, agility and quickness tests were also carried out.
Along with the results, footage of the players in action will be scrutinised in the coming weeks after which a decision will be made by the clubs on whether to invite them for a “two week settling-in trial”, probably between October and Christmas.
A number of players were said to have “really impressed”, though their identities will not be made public. Nixon stated that he wished to avoid “conflict with the various county boards” and that “it would serve no purpose to name the players.”
Nixon expressed some fear regarding another backlash from GAA officials, but he also stated that judgement from “old school coaches and newspapers” should be reserved until a documentary, which will be aired in the coming weeks, is seen. “There will be a documentary coming out soon which highlights what goes on and that will dispel a lot of the myths that some people have.”
“A lot of coaches and newspapers make some ridiculous suggestions about what goes on, I can’t understand it but those people are generally old school.”
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