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Stuart takes aim at manager after Bateman exit

Canberra have confirmed star English import John Bateman will depart the club at the end of year, with the forward reportedly weighing up an offer from the Bulldogs or a return to the Super League.

Coach Ricky Stuart, however, was less than impressed with the situation, firing shots at Bateman's management as well as the NRL.

"We were sick of waiting," Stuart told the media. "I'm proud of the club that they put a timeline on it.

"We, here at the club, work so hard to build a winning roster, and (to have) players pulled out of it the way John has really disappoints me.

"It's disappointed me with the way the game allows it."

Stuart went on to describe the disrespectful tactics of managers and the need for the NRL to step in and protect clubs.

"They agitate clubs and manipulate communications and negotiations to suit them and them only," he said, "and it's not always in the best interests of the player.

"I'm proud of the club for taking a (stand)... the last thing we're going to be is a club such as the Broncos or the Warriors that have been ruined by the agitation and manipulation of roster.

"We offered John a very, very good offer last year," Stuart continued, "and (to hear) the words of 'you're getting closer' I thought was disrespectful to Don (Furner) and the club.

"And that day there I knew we wouldn't be keeping John."

Bateman had been the subject of significant speculation in recent months, his situation amplified by the fact he remains sidelined with a shoulder injury.

The Raiders had made it clear to Bateman he was free to talk with other clubs as their salary-cap wiggle room becomes increasingly tight, with the cashed-up Bulldogs seemingly keen to make him the focal point of their ongoing rebuild.

"The club made the difficult decision to allow John to pursue other long-term options and as a result, 2020 will be his final season with the Raiders," Furner said. "We're looking forward to John returning from his shoulder injury soon and finishing his time by helping us make the semifinals again.

"John was fantastic in 2019, featuring in our first Grand Final appearance since 1994 and winning the Dally M for second-rower of the year."

Bateman said he was doing his best to get back on the field before the end of year in what would be vital addition to the Raiders' fortunes, the club struggling following back-to-back defeats to Manly and Parramatta.

"The Raiders gave me an opportunity to come to Australia and play in the NRL and I've loved every moment playing for the club," he said. "I'm doing everything I can to make sure I get back on the field as soon as possible and finish my last season with the Raiders on a high."

According to NRL.com, Bateman has a three-year deal on the table from the Bulldogs and a four-year contract from his former Super League club, Wigan. Both offers are believed to be around $[Aus]2 million mark.