Canberra Raiders issue fresh statement on George Williams exit

Canberra have defended their handling of George Williams' axing - but changed stance on whether it was in his best interests.

Thursday, 27th May 2021, 8:04 am
Updated Thursday, 27th May 2021, 11:00 am
George Williams

In their initial statement announcing his exit on Tuesday, the Raiders said "it is in the best interests of both parties to grant an immediate release to allow both parties to plan for their respective futures."

But after the player made his stance clear that he planned to see this season out with the Raiders, the NRL outfit today issued another statement and admitted they acted in the club's best interests and that "sometimes they do not match those of an individual".

The Raiders reiterated the situation had become "untenable" after homesick Williams withdrew from training earlier this week. The player has criticised the club for a lack of support and for kicking him out.

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Their statement in full is:

"As a club, we were optimistic we could put measures in place to allow George to see out the duration of his contract. His family situation was discussed internally, and the club offered George the support to ensure he and his partner could have an extended stay in England during the 2022 pre-season so they could be surrounded by family.

"George’s final request for a release came on Monday evening. The following day George withdrew from training and the upcoming match against the Roosters. This decision prompted the club to offer George an immediate release given the stress this was evidently causing he and his partner, thereby giving them the opportunity to return home earlier.

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"As a club, we have a duty to act in the best interests of the club, its members, sponsors and supporters. Sometimes the best interests of the club do not match those of an individual. The club therefore determined that granting George an immediate release would allow us to plan better for the club’s future.

"We would like to reiterate that it was the club's overwhelming preference to keep George until the end of next season, as he is a good person, well-liked and a valuable member of our club. However, when this situation became untenable, we needed to act in the best interests of the club and our future."