The recent Ken Hinkley/Gold Coast Suns issue has since been resolved by Hinkley signing a new deal with Port Adelaide, but it does raise the question of what the club would have done if Gold Coast had poached him.
In respect of Hinkley, would Port have gone down the same path as the (NRL) Bulldogs did with Sonny Bill Williams and sought an injunction preventing him taking up the new role? Serving the Court proceedings would certainly have been easier on Hinkley than it was on Williams – who was served via the Court papers being thrown over the training ground fence in France!
Would they have taken on the Suns for the tort of inducing breach of contract? Broadly speaking, the elements they would need to prove would be:
- The act of inducement directed by the Suns to Hinkley.
- Intention or actual knowledge that the Power would lose the benefit of their contract with Hinkley.
- Loss suffered by the Power as a result.
From the outside, it looks like the Power would have had a good shot of meeting all three criteria (though I will leave it to the Port faithful to argue amongst themselves about the extent or otherwise of the ‘loss’ – as I’m indifferent … go Cats!).
It is interesting that Gillon McLachlan referred explicitly to this tort when asked about the issue – it leads one to wonder whether the AFL (and the Suns) were at least a bit concerned with their advice and conclusions …