Canberra coach rubbishes Bateman departure rumours

Canberra Raiders head coach Ricky Stuart has rubbished rumours that John Bateman could leave the club, after Fox Sports reported that the ex-Wigan and Bradford forward has asked for a release from his contract on four occasions.

Fox Sports journalist James Hooper reported that Bateman was demanding a new contract worth $800k and had asked to be allowed to test his value on the open market.

However, Bateman himself hit back at the speculation, calling the report ‘bullsh*t’ and saying in a post on Twitter: “Never once have I asked for a release”.

His coach has now also backed that up, insisting that the 26-year-old’s focus is firmly on the season’s resumption.

“John’s on contract with us until the end of 2021 and we’re very comfortable with our relationship with John,” Stuart told the Raiders’ official club website.

“He’s been working very hard to get himself right to go from his shoulder surgery and at the moment this is what we’re focused on.

“As I’ve said in the past, when clubs start winning games the players get looked at by other clubs, but I speak to John daily and I know he’s fully committed to our club and he can’t wait to get back on the field.”

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