George Williams: Adrian Lam confirms Wigan Warriors interest after Canberra Raiders exit
Wigan coach Adrian Lam has confirmed his club are in talks to bring George Williams back to the club.
The 26-year-old England half-back is expected to be in big demand after he was surprisingly released with immediate effect by his NRL club Canberra Raiders on Tuesday.
Williams, who was less than halfway through his three-year contract with the Raiders, wants to return to England for personal reasons, with his partner Charlotte expecting their first child later in the year.
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He had asked to leave at the end of the season but – after being told he was not available to play this weekend – Canberra opted to wash their hands of him and asked the player to sign a release clause with immediate effect.
“It’s a live situation with Canberra at the moment,” Lam said at his weekly press conference. “We don’t know exactly what’s unfolded or how it’s got to where it’s at.
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“There’s talk that he’s going to go immediately. Obviously with a player of George’s calibre, you want him at Wigan.
“At the moment that’s in the hands of (football director) Kris Radlinksi and (chairman) Ian Lenagan and I’m sure they’ll do their bit to try and get him involved.
“The club is in contact with his manager, they have touched base with him, but there’s plenty of water that needs to pass under the bridge.”
Warrington and Leeds are also thought to be keen on the player but Lam is confident his club are in pole position, having gained first refusal on his services as part of the deal agreed when in allowing him to move to Australia.
They also have space on their salary cap after releasing George Burgess at the start of the season and will be permitted to count only £75,000 of his wages on the cap because he is a club-trained player.
Lam also believes the lure of returning to his hometown club, which players like Sam Tomkins, Lee Mossop and Joe Burgess have done in the past, also counts in Wigan’s favour.
“He’s a Wigan junior, he’s had a lot of success here and all his friends are here,” Lam added.
“No doubt over the next week or so things will become a little bit clearer. Fingers crossed it will work out.”
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Meanwhile, ambitious Championship club Newcastle Thunder have made an audacious bid to sign the player on a short-term deal.
Thunder chairman Mick Hogan confirmed that his club have made their interest known to Williams’ England-based manager Andy Clarke.
“We have expressed an interest and made an offer to his manager,” Hogan said.
“We appreciate he will want to play at the highest level possible, particularly with it being a World Cup year, but if that isn’t possible due to Super League salary cap issues, then Newcastle would be a great option for him.”
Newcastle were fast-tracked from League 1 following Leigh’s elevation to Super League in December and have bold plans to reach the top flight themselves and win the Grand Final by 2030.
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