The Canberra Raiders have announced that English halfback George Williams has been released from his contract effective immediately.
Williams asked for a release on compassionate grounds for the end of 2021, but he withdrew from training and this week’s match which prompted the club to grant an immediate release.
Williams joined the Raiders at the start of 2020 on a three-year-contract and managed just 32 games for the club over his 18 months in Canberra.
It was reported recently that he and his expecting partner have struggled with being away from their families. The pair have been unable to travel back to England due to the COVID pandemic.
Raiders CEO Don Furner said the decision was made in the best interest of both parties and described the situation as ‘untenable’.
“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.”
The divorce between the two parties looks less than amicable with Williams himself responding to the media reports with a tweet denying that he asked for an immediate release and that he was in fact “kicked out the door” by the club.
UPDATE: The Raiders released another statement on Thursday afternoon, 27 May, explaining their decision to release Williams immediately.
The statement said that Williams through his management had asked for a release at the end of the 2021 season several times.
The final time came on Monday 24 May and the following day Williams withdrew from training and the upcoming match against the Roosters on Saturday.
That prompted the club to offer Williams an immediate release to allow him and his partner to return home earlier.
The statement said the decision was made in the best interests of the club and that moving Williams on early would allow them to plan for the future.
The Raiders first match without Williams on Saturday night against the Sydney Roosters in Gosford.