Stuart fumes at manager's role after Bateman's move to exit Raiders
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Stuart fumes at manager's role after Bateman's move to exit Raiders

Canberra coach Ricky Stuart has launched a scathing attack on John Bateman's manager Isaac Moses while urging the NRL to stop agents from "agitating and manipulating rosters".

Bateman informed the Raiders on Tuesday he would not see out the final year of his deal in the nation's capital in 2021, with a return home to Wigan looming as the back-rower's likely next move.

John Batmean will farewell Canberra at the end of the year.

John Batmean will farewell Canberra at the end of the year. Credit:Getty Images

Bateman burst onto the NRL scene last year and was named 2019 Dally M back-rower of the year as he became a vital member of the Raiders team that qualified for the club's first grand final in 25 years.

But Stuart made it clear he was unimpressed with the whole drawn-out process, which started back in March when the club allowed Bateman to test his market value.

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"It was always going to happen," Stuart said on Tuesday. "I’m proud of the club that they put a timeline on it. We knew what was going to happen, so we were sick of waiting.

"To Don [Furner's] credit he put a time-frame on his manager [Moses] and got what we knew was coming.

"It’s really disappointing because John is a real big part of the squad and a world-class player. To lose him really disappoints me because we here at the club have worked so hard to build a strong roster, and then you get players pulled out of it the way John has, has disappointed me ... it's disappointed me the way the game has allowed it.

"I feel the NRL need to help clubs in regards to how we have to deal with certain managers over the way they agitate clubs and manipulate communications and negotiations.

"But I'm glad the club took a stand in wanting to get a decision.

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"The last thing we are going to be is a club such as the Broncos or Warriors where they've been ruined by agitation and manipulation of the roster."

Brisbane and the Warriors have a large number of players managed by Moses, while Anthony Seibold, the recently-sacked Stephen Kearney and interim coach Todd Payten are also on the agent's payroll.

Moses is currently appealing the NRL's decision to cancel his registration for "procuring and assisting Tim Mannah to give evidence to the NRL that was false and intended to mislead an investigation of the NRL Integrity & Compliance Unit".

The Herald was told by sources Canberra knew they were no chance to keep Bateman when he was told by Moses he could fetch him $1 million a season at Parramatta.

Stuart said he had no issues with Bateman himself, who remains sidelined with a shoulder injury and could yet be out of action until the finals.

John Bateman tries to shrug off Luke Keary during last year's grand final.

John Bateman tries to shrug off Luke Keary during last year's grand final.Credit:AAP

"I've got a lot of respect for John as a bloke, as a footballer I have the highest degree of respect," Stuart said.

"We offered him a very good deal last year to his English manager and then his new manager. It was a very, very good offer. To then hear, 'you're getting closer' was disrespectful to the club and Don, and from that day on I knew we wouldn't be keeping John.

"I understand it's a business and you need to make decisions. It's just how it's been done that's disappointed me.

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

The Herald learned Bateman's management requested more time to negotiate with rival clubs, despite being granted permission several months ago.

Canberra made it known they needed an answer either way so they could prepare for life with or without the hard-running backrower.

The Bulldogs have been heavily linked to Bateman with reports suggesting the Belmore club are prepared to outlay as much as $800,000 a year for him to join fellow England international Luke Thompson.

But Bateman has made it clear he misses family and his daughter Millie, and a move home to accept a $2 million deal with former club Wigan is looking the most likely option.

The Green Machine are also in negotiations with winger Nick Cotric who has stalled on a whopping five-year deal worth around $2.5m to consider an even bigger contract from Canterbury.

Cotric is keen to play centre, a positional shift that can be accommodated at Belmore, but the Raiders are happy for their local junior to remain on the wing.

Bateman, 26, was excellent on the right edge last year and played a huge role in helping the Raiders all the way to the grand final.

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He told the Herald back in May he was not being greedy for wanting to secure a better deal elsewhere, especially with his daughter's future in mind.

"When I’m 45 and struggling to stand up, or trying to put my daughter through university, no one is going to ring me and say 'you know that extra few hundred grand you were hoping to get? We’ve got it for you now'. She's my girl. That's who I wake up every day for. That's the reason I go to work, to give her the best life possible," Bateman said.

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