George Williams: England half-back granted Canberra Raiders release to return home

George Williams has impressed at Canberra but the Covid-19 restrictions have made it hard to see family

Canberra Raiders have granted half-back George Williams immediate release from his contract to return to England with his pregnant partner.

The 26-year-old had sought an end-of-season exit from the club citing homesickness, with Covid-19 limiting the chances to see family.

Raiders chief executive Don Furner confirmed the request had been granted.

However, Williams has responded on social media saying he had never sought immediate release.

“I asked for a release weeks ago for the end of the season,” he posted on Twitter. “Not once did I ask for an immediate release but instead of supporting me the club kicked me out the door.”

The club’s statement from CEO Furner said: “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

“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.”

Williams was among a group of English players at the Raiders, alongside Elliott Whitehead, close friend Ryan Sutton and Josh Hodgson.

He played 31 games, scoring 10 tries, kicking 15 goals and two field goals in his year and a bit in the Australian capital.

Former Wigan and England team-mate John Bateman had also been part of the squad, until he too returned to England on similar grounds to rejoin Wigan for this current campaign.