Williams fires back over Raiders release claims

Star England import George Williams has returned serve over reports he agitated the Raiders into an immediate release from his playing contract via text.

Williams and his management had asked the club for a release at season’s end on compassionate grounds but the Raiders instead decided today it would be in the best interest of both parties to part ways, effective immediately.

But a News Corp report which claimed Williams sent a text message to the club welfare manager to inform the Raiders he would not be attending regulation training has been refuted by the star.

Williams also slammed suggestions he agitated Canberra CEO Don Furner and coach Ricky Stuart into granting him an immediate release, re-stating he only requested a release for season’s end weeks ago.

In a club statement released earlier today, Furner said the club had little decision but to release Williams immediately considering the seriousness of his situation.

“George and his partner have asked on a number of occasions for a release to return to England to be closer to their families and we’ve decided to grant their request,” Furner said.

“George withdrew from training today and from the game this weekend which highlighted to the Club the seriousness of George’s request.

“Over the past several weeks we have supported George and provided him with the best welfare support we could, however as a Club we felt that his position at the club moving forward became untenable.”

With his partner expecting their first child, the England star reportedly approached coach Ricky Stuart in April about seeking an early exit from his deal.

The Raiders had hoped to find a like-for-like replacement before releasing Williams.

But having arrived in Canberra weeks before the last year’s pandemic, Williams had been unable to see family, leading to a bout of homesickness that reached boiling point.

Williams fast became the cornerstone of Stuart’s playmaking stocks with an ability to organise, ball-play and marshall his troops around the paddock.

It’s just the latest setback for Ricky’s Raiders who have endured a torrid 2021 campaign, slumping to 11th on the ladder.

30-year-old Sam Williams will likely be their halfback for the rest of the season.

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