England half-back George Williams has taken to Twitter to deny claims he had effectively gone on strike before his Canberra Raiders contract was terminated with immediate effect on Tuesday, and blasted the club for having “kicked me out the door”.
The Raiders announced earlier in the day that the former Wigan superstar had agreed to an immediate release after Williams had asked for his deal to be brought to an early end at the completion of the 2021 season so that he and his pregnant partner could return home to the UK, with his unsettled behaviour prompting the club to act.
Raiders CEO Don Furner claimed in the club statement: “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.”
But after reports surfaced that Williams had sent a text message to the Raiders’ welfare manager refusing to take part in a mandatory training session on Tuesday, the 26-year-old used his Twitter account to attempt to set the record straight.
Plus I've not even signed the release 🤔
“FALSE. I text to explain my mental well-being to the welfare manager?” Williams fired back at the report. “I asked for a release weeks ago for the end of the season… Not once did I ask for a [sic] immediate release but instead of supporting me the club kicked me out the door. Plus I’ve not even signed the release.”
Williams joined Canberra ahead of the 2020 season after seven years with Wigan Warriors, becoming a key part of the Raiders’ side under head coach Ricky Stuart. Upon allowing him to leave the DW Stadium, Wigan inserted a right to first refusal within the deal, meaning Williams could make a speedy return to his former club.
Williams made 31 appearances for Canberra but will now be looking to find a new club with some haste given his hopes to play a major part for Shaun Wane’s England national team at this autumn’s home Rugby League World Cup.