‘They couldn’t afford him’ – John Bateman’s agent hits back at Canberra

Player agent Isaac Moses says Canberra’s salary cap problems were the reason behind John Bateman’s exit from the club.

It was announced on Tuesday that Bateman would leave the Raiders at the end of this season after failing to agree a new deal – sparking a backlash from head coach Ricky Stuart.

Stuart called out the ‘manipulating’ and ‘disrespectful’ nature of agents claiming they tabled ‘a very good offer’ to the England international, however Moses has a different side to the story.

“On 24 February I met with [Canberra CEO] Don Furner, Ricky Stuart and John in Canberra to discuss John’s future at the Raiders,” Moses told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“At that meeting Don advised the club were in salary cap trouble. 2021 was very tight and they were in the process of trying to re-sign other players in addition to John. 2022 was worse, they weren’t going to be able to afford him at all.

Bateman, 26, is now expected to return to Super League. Credit: News Images

“After that meeting, on 11 March I received an email from Don giving permission for John to talk to other clubs as the Raiders weren’t in a position to accommodate him long term.

“To Don’s credit, he always said he didn’t want to stand in John’s way should he wish to look at other opportunities for the betterment of his young family.

“He made it clear the club isn’t in the habit of letting good players go, but was honest about the difficulties of managing their roster off the back of a grand final, with unanticipated Origin bonuses to also factor in.”

Despite links to Canterbury Bulldogs and St George Illawarra Dragons, it’s now expected that Bateman will return home and rejoin Wigan Warriors on a four-year deal.

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