ROAR EXCLUSIVE: John Eales explains his role in the rugby media

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John Eales and George Gregan are two all-time Wallabies greats, which is reflected in their number of caps. (AAP Image/Dean Lewins)

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In this open letter, Wallaby legend John Eales AM responds to an article written on The Roar by resident rugby expert, Spiro Zavos.

“Spiro, I was alerted to your article ‘Queensland Reds Fracturing over Personal Agendas‘ on The Roar, which in part makes reference to a column I wrote for the Australian Financial Review on April 23.

I wanted to take the opportunity to comment on a few of your points.

In the piece you mention that:

I do not believe he should be writing about the [Richard] Graham switch, particularly with an ‘all’s well that ends well’ line.The reason for this is that he has shares in the business International Quarterback. This business employs [Chris] White, who manages Graham. This relationship needed to be revealed to readers of the article. Indeed, he should also reveal in his AFR columns that he is a member of the ARU’s board.”

In reference to your comments, you are correct in saying that I am a shareholder of International Quarterback but the inference in your piece is that Graham is managed by International Quarterback.

He is not.

Chris White is a personal friend of Graham’s and has advised him from time to time on contractual issues, as he did in his move to the Reds, but Graham is not a client of IQ. Therefore, I did not stand to benefit, in any manner, from his dealings with Graham.

It is also, I believe, important to note that Chris has never taken a cent from any coaching or playing contract in Graham’s career and indeed he has never taken a fee, either through IQ or personally, either directly or indirectly, for anything he has organised or advised on, on his behalf. Further, Graham has never been listed as a client on the IQ website or in any marketing collateral.

It is true that Graham approached Chris for advice on his move to the Reds. Chris declared his interest immediately to all relevant parties, including the QRU board, and had no accountability in the Reds decision, he was advising a friend.

Therefore, my inferred conflict as relating to my interest in IQ needs clarification on the website as I would take objection to someone believing that I used my article in the Australian Financial Review for my own personal, undeclared, gain.

Also I don’t believe that it was necessary to mention my role as a director of Australian Rugby, but I appreciate that could be debated.

From time to time I have declared an interest. Specifically I can remember declaring an interest in IQ in a piece about Michael Clarke some time ago. I have discussed my directorship previously with the AFR and it wasn’t deemed as necessary to declare for every article.

I take your comments on board, however, as the last thing I want is to have people perceive that I am deceiving them and writing due to self-interest.

This is what most concerns me about your article.

I also hasten to add that I think my article was balanced and written from a ‘psychology of human behaviour’ perspective to try to explain why people behave as they do, rather than defending anyone’s specific choices.

I felt I was not particularly easy on Graham and quite understanding, and supportive, of the Force’s predicament. I tried to look at it from many perspectives including McKenzie’s and the QRU’s, and also from the perspective of a fan.

Accordingly, I don’t think it had the tone of an ‘all’s well that ends well’ article.

As always Spiro, despite my comments above, I do appreciate your perspective and enjoy reading your writings on rugby.”

What a year 2014 has been in rugby! From the highs of the Waratahs winning the Super Rugby title, to the lows of the infamous saga that swamped our national team. What are your reflections on the year that was? What's on your Christmas wishlist for next year? If you're feeling inspired, you can share it with other Roarers by submitting an article.
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