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Canberra Today 24°/26° | Tuesday, November 30, 2021 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

We want our money back on fee for English half: Furner

Canberra Raiders boss Don Furner.

CANBERRA Raiders have threatened to take legal action to recoup punitive costs over alleged financial losses being felt from the departure of George Williams.

The Raiders feel they are out of pocket since forking out a $200,000 transfer fee to secure the talented halfback from Super League club Wigan at the end of 2019.

Club chief executive Don Furner said the Raiders’ legal team are exploring their options to figure out whether their clients are entitled to just compensation.

“The process is a legal standoff for a while,” Furner said.

“We have to work through it and that’s what we’re doing at the moment.”

Conjecture over who breached the deal between the two parties could be settled in court.

Less than half way through a three-year contract, Williams pleaded for an early release.

The Raiders counter-offered claims that he asked for an exit at the end of his second NRL season by generously gifting the Englishman an option for extended leave over preseason.

But Canberra caved to repeated approaches from the 26-year-old’s management to part ways at the end of the 2021 season and he was axed after failing to turn up at the club’s headquarters on Tuesday and withdrawing out of Saturday’s clash with Sydney Roosters.

“We have left all that with our solicitors and that is all being worked through, but what we have to do as a club is plan our future,” Furner said.

“There are other options now; we didn’t want to look at them. George was our preference.”

Furner felt the risk of letting Williams call all the shots over leaving for homesickness was too great.

This comes after the once boyhood Raiders fan took to social media to correct the club’s narrative hours after the announcement of the reasons for leaving Bruce.

“I make my decisions on the best interests of the club and not the individual,” Furner said.

“I can’t leave the club exposed at the end of the year with a guy who may get on a plane and not come back when we have a position to fill.

“If he is genuinely homesick and we have offered him the support for that, he should get home.”

But Williams, amid the bitter spat between the club and the player, appears content after being effectively dumped to stay in Australia longer amid speculation that his manager is shopping the halfback to Sydney clubs.

Furner would be in his right mind to block such a move.

“We have offered him counselling, we offered him to go home at the end of the year for three months, that on full pay, but again the repeated requests on the Monday night and then doesn’t show up the next day or play the game,” he said.

Furner refuses to accept the Raiders’ board kicked Williams out of the club allegedly over suggestions of his mental wellbeing rather than feeling homesick after the decision was based that the distractions began to derail the team’s 2021 campaign.

The club employs two welfare officers to manage relocated players and according to an irate Furner the Raiders since 1982 “do a lot more than other organisations have to do to look after their staff and way more than anyone in Canberra does”.

“We have a lot of people in this organisation – there is 120 people in the organisation – facing a lot more difficulties than homesickness and they turn up to work,” he said.

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Andrew Mathieson

Andrew Mathieson

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