Raiders star furious at halfback’s ugly exit

Raiders star Josh Hodgson has slammed the club’s messy handling of an immediate release for fellow England Test player George Williams.

In doing so, Hodgson said that it may also be time that he left Canberra.

Williams has been homesick and wanted a release at the end of the season; yet the issue came to a head this week, with the Raiders deciding that he was finished after he said he was unable to attend a training session and the weekend’s game. Williams said the Raiders “kicked me out the door” in a tough moment.

It was the latest explosive moment in a rough season for Canberra, with Hodgson seething that Williams – whose partner is pregnant – has been cast as the bad guy.

“He busts his arse every day for us and when you see all these things about him f—ing turning his back on his team and all that, it f—ing hurts,” Hodgson, who stood down as Raiders co-captain this season, told The Daily Telegraph.

“It’s like watching your mate getting kicked in the street and just standing by watching. I feel like you’ve got to say something to tell people what a good lad he is.”

Hodgson said that the players “just don’t understand” why the Raiders suddenly pushed Williams, an elite halfback, out the door mid-season. He said that he went to the media to prompt an answer from the club.

Of his own future, having been named on the bench behind Tom Starling this week, he said: “I am not a bench player.

“I am not going to let my own ego stand in the way of the next generation at the club. I want to leave this club always on good terms. If I am butting heads to try and start when that is not probably best for Tommy’s development, then maybe it is my time to move on.”

Hodgson said that he loved the Canberra club but intended to keep playing for several more seasons, still viewing himself as an elite NRL No.9.

While Hodgson said that the players were firmly behind Williams, former premiership-winning fullback Gary Belcher unloaded on the England star.

“I’m filthy that George Williams wants out of his contract,” Belcher said on Sportsday NSW.

“I understand you are homesick George, but you have signed a contract. You are going to leave your club in the lurch. It is not just because it is the Raiders.

“I’m so uncomfortable with players wanting to get out of their contracts, but now they are saying we don’t want to go now, we want to go at the end of the year.

“We are really homesick, but we can get through and you can keep paying us for another six months.

“He is on $700,000 a year. Can you have your cake and eat it too? If you are going to leave and leave the club in the lurch, you should be leaving now.”

Williams was brought to the Raiders on a three-year deal, of which he completed just half. Canberra paid Wigan a $200,000 transfer fee to secure his services, on top of his $2.1 million deal.

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