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AFL gives Stengle permission to be represented by mentor's wife in new deal negotiations

Andrew Mathieson -

The AFL has granted the wife of Eddie Betts special dispensation to act on behalf of unrestricted free agent Tyson Stengle towards negotiating for the Geelong forward's next and biggest contract deal.

Anna Scullie took charge of Betts' contract talk during the back half of his AFL career at Adelaide and to his return to Carlton, but had permission to manage as his wife.

But Scullie was given the nod to also manage the affairs of Stengle as his legal guardian – 13 years his senior – all in spite of not being an accredited AFL agent.

Permission officially from the AFL on Monday has cast aside one inside club source in The Australian, labelling her as a "pseudo manager" as some critics disregard her ability to effectively navigate through the nuances of contracts in spite of being in charge of her husband's deals across eight seasons while still running their family business.

Stengle turned to the partner of a former Crow confidante's wife to work out the deal, which will include remaining at the club he was instrumental in the Cats claiming the 2022 premiership or seeking possibly a fourth AFL club.

Scullie has managed the affairs of her husband, Eddie Betts, for the past eight years as well as dealing with business matters, but is not an official AFL accredited agent as is standard practice.

She had ticked off on Stengle signing a simpler one-year extension at the end of 2023 after experiencing an injury-hampered year as the Cats missed the AFL finals and a chance to defend their title.

"When we did his last extension, we got special approval from the AFL," Scullie told CODE Sports on Monday.

"It is a case-by-case basis, but they gave me authority over his contract.

"I have been really quiet about the work I do, but I have managed Eddie and built his brand over eight years and run the family business.

"I negotiate deals day-in and day-out with our business and have the knowledge of being in the AFL industry with Eddie over the last 16 years.

"We work as a team and I don't have a conflict of interest; I just work for Tyson.

"I don't have other players – I just care 100 per cent about Tyson and his needs."

The Wirangu man has made a case for a lucrative deal to tie up Stengle to remain on Wathaurong country for at least the bulk of his remaining time in the AFL.

Stengle has kicked a reasonable 14.5 from eight matches after scoring 53 goals in his first 2022 season at Kardinia Park.

"It would be ideal if he stays there," Scullie said.

"He is playing good footy with the team around him.

"We will likely go for a long-term deal.

"But we have to take into consideration that Geelong can be isolating.

"If Geelong is where he stays, it is a perfect place and it's a great culture, and he's really well supported on the field.

"He is playing good footy, so we will just see."

The 25-year-old's unique family relationship had put her in a position to best manage his affairs after enduring a traumatic family upbringing, with relatives instead of his parents raising Stengle from a young age.

While Stengle and Betts, who are distantly related, played just a season at the Crows, the 350-game icon's bond quickly became more of a personal mentorship.

Since the couple and their five children returned to Melbourne, the Cats invited Betts to spend more time with Stengle at his third AFL home to keep the new goalsneak focused and on the track.

Betts no longer spends time on the training track in Geelong with Stengle, but he still invites his protégé up to the family home a number of nights most weeks.

That additional time spent with Stengle has filled Scullie with inside information that a player probably would not share with an agent that makes her even more qualified to look over the Cat's best interests.

"People might be intrigued, but I have the knowledge and experience, and have those conversations with clubs all the time given Eddie and I are talking about Indigenous pathways into footy," Scullie said.

"I represent Eddie with (his current contract at) Fox Footy and also manage his Coles partnership."

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