England Test forward John Bateman will leave Canberra at the conclusion of the 2020 NRL season. Image by Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS

rugby league

Stuart dirty how Bateman fiasco played out

2020-06-30 17:33:16

Ricky Stuart has lashed rogue player agents and demanded the league step in to prevent a repeat of the John Bateman contracting fiasco.

Canberra boss Don Furner on Tuesday announced Bateman would leave the national capital at season’s end after being unable to reach an agreement with the Raiders.

A fed-up Stuart claimed Bateman had been mismanaged and misled after the English Test star opted to leave with a year remaining on his contract.

“He was promised he was going to get more than the money we offered him and let me tell you, it’s going to be a good deal (if he gets that elsewhere),” Stuart said on Tuesday.

“We offered John a very, very good offer last year to his English manager and then his new manager (Isaac Moses).

“It was a very, very, very good offer and it was (in) the words (of his manager: ‘You’re getting closer’ and I thought it was disrespectful to Don (Furner) and the club.

“And that day there, I knew that we wouldn’t be keeping John.”

Stuart insisted Bateman’s decision to either return home to Wigan or possibly link with Canterbury, wouldn’t affect his relationship with the 26-year-old.

“I understand it’s a professional business and you’ve to make these decisions but it’s just how it’s been done has disappointed me,” Stuart said.

“And it’s not only this instance.

“There’s managers that need to have a higher degree of integrity and respect for clubs in their negotiations and communications because there are so many good blokes out there who are managers who take their players’ welfare into consideration very highly and they’re getting tarred with the same brush as a few others who I believe are disrespecting the position of being manager.

“It’s making their jobs harder so until the league jumps in and starts helping clubs with the rot that happens in communications and manipulations of rosters, we’ve got our hands tied behind our back, basically.”

While resigned months ago to be losing the 2019 Dally M second-rower of the year, Stuart was still gutted about Bateman leaving.

“We here at the club have worked so hard to build a strong roster and then you’re getting players pulled out of it the way John has really disappoints me,” he said.

“It disappoints me how the game allows it. The game, the NRL, need to help clubs in the way we have to deal with certain managers over the way they agitate clubs and manipulate communications and negotiations to suit them and them only.

“It’s not always in the best interests of the player.

“But I’m proud of the club because they took a stance and wanted to get a decision because the last thing we’re going to be is a club like the Broncos or the Warriors where they’ve just been ruined by agitation and manipulation of roster.”