Canberra legend Laurie Daley says John Bateman owes the Raiders a big end to the NRL season after opting to walk out on his contract with a year remaining.
Currently injured following shoulder surgery, Bateman turned down a huge offer from the 2019 grand finalists after his manager Isaac Moses promised him more.
The ugly contract saga has upset Canberra coach Ricky Stuart, who accused Moses of being manipulative, disrespectful and lacking integrity.
Daley, though, doesn’t expect Stuart, his former triple premiership-winning teammate, to hold a grudge against Bateman.
But he will expect something in return from the English international, Daley said.
“His first priority is obviously to get his shoulder right and get back and help his team,” Daley told NRL 360.
“You know, the Raiders have paid a transfer fee for him, they brought him out to Australia and they’d be looking to him to repay them with some good performances between now and the end of the year.
“It’s disappointing, no doubt about it. John Bateman was a key and an influence in that team last year.”
Daley believes Stuart has every reason to be upset about losing the reigning Dally M second-rower of the year in such a manner.
“We all know Ricky is very passionate,” he said.
“The thing that Ricky does is, he buys into the players – and they buy into him.
“He gives them his heart and soul and he’d feel disappointed that (some) haven’t bought back.
“And I think that’s one of his strengths as a coach, is that they play for him because they know he cares about them and care in a footy team is so important and he would think that that care and trust has been broken.”
But Daley is confident the Bateman drama won’t cruel the Raiders’ 2020 campaign.
“(It) will probably bring them together,” he said.
“I know he (Stuart) speaks highly of the core group of players – or leaders – that he has down there and they will be driving this.
“And they know Bateman’s there for the rest of the year but it won’t derail their season.”