Wigan on alert as George Williams cuts short Canberra stay

ENGLAND halfback George Williams has left Canberra Raiders with immediate effect – and former club Wigan are favourites to sign him.

The Super League leaders have first refusal on the 26-year-old via a clause in the deal which took him Down Under for an undisclosed fee on a three-year contract ahead of the 2020 campaign.

Williams had asked Canberra if he could leave at the end of the season, but it has been decided to part ways now to “allow both parties to plan for their respective futures”.

Recent reports in Australia suggested Warrington were set to sign the unsettled star at the end of this year.

Canberra chief executive Don Furner said: “George and his partner have asked on a number of occasions for a release to return to England to be closer to their families and we’ve decided to grant their request.

“George withdrew from training today and from the game (against Sydney Roosters) this weekend, which highlighted to the club the seriousness of his request.

“Over the past several weeks we have supported George and provided him with the best welfare support we could.

“However as a club, we felt that his position at the club moving forward became untenable.”

Williams made 178 appearances for Wigan from 2013 to 2019 and was in the Grand Final-winning teams of 2016 and 2018.

He featured in Canberra’s 34-10 defeat by Melbourne on Saturday.

John Bateman cut short his stay with Canberra to rejoin Wigan at the end of last season.

And ex-Wigan players Sam Tomkins, Lee Mossop, Joe Burgess and Dan Sarginson also returned early from stints in the NRL.