In a world where contracts play such a huge role in player movement, it’s hard to imagine a time where signing for an unknown fee would be enough to secure a player, let alone someone of the calibre of Brett Kimmorley.
However, the storm of player movement following the reunion of the ARL and Super League saw some crazy deals struck.
LISTEN TO THE BRETT KIMMORLEY PODCAST!
For Kimmorley, this meant his road out of the Newcastle-based Super League franchise the Hunter Mariners was fraught with complications.
“We had an idea that maybe the Mariners were going to be wound up and I wanted to avoid Sydney,” Kimmorley told the Our Town Our Team podcast.
“I was told I had to go to Canterbury because Scotty Hill had already signed for a franchise called the Melbourne Storm, and there was a mutual agreement that both of us halves weren’t allowed to go to the same venue.
“I remember having meetings with the solicitor from Super League to try and work out why I wasn’t allowed to go to Melbourne, they pretty much told me I had to go to Canterbury.”
Despite being told he would be forced to be a Bulldog, Kimmorley was determined to link with incoming Melbourne coach Chris Anderson.
“I’d already been to Melbourne once for a look, I had meetings with Chris Johns and Chris Anderson, and I really enjoyed his style of coaching and footy he wanted to play,” he said.
“I wanted to play that flat and fast style, so I literally signed a blank piece of paper with Chris Johns and he was able to somehow convince Super League and the Clubs that I was allowed to go there.”
A nib Newcastle Knights junior, Kimmorley joined the Mariners from the Knights for a better opportunity to play regular first grade, with the Johns brothers holding a monopoly of the Newcastle halves positions.
This meant he had not yet lived outside of Newcastle; however, the young halfback was so keen on the move to Melbourne he packed up and relocated with nothing but the blank piece of paper.
“I ended up packing up the house in Newcastle and moving to Melbourne, and when I got to Melbourne, I negotiated what my three-year deal was going to look like,” Kimmorley said.
“I probably did it in the reverse order, but I just knew that I was able to go there, and it was a great opportunity, so that was enough for me to pack up and re-locate to Melbourne.”
The move ended up being a dream one, with the Storm winning their maiden premiership in just their second year in the competition, with Kimmorley taking out the Clive Churchill Medal.