I've never asked for Raiders release - Bateman
Great Britain international John Bateman has insisted he wants to stay with Canberra Raiders.
The back-rower attempted to calm speculation about his future, after reports that the club had made him available.
Bateman, who is currently sidelined after shoulder surgery, says although it's true that he is free to negotiate with rival clubs, that doesn't mean he will be leaving.
"Never once have I asked for a release neither has my management," the 26-year-old said via a statement on social media.
"Canberra gave me permission to talk to other clubs months ago because they're tight on the [salary] cap next year and have nothing for me from 2022 onwards.
"I have a renegotiation clause in my deal for every year that's why we are working through it. I love the Raiders and want to be here. So settle yourselves down and let's get talking about the season starting back up."
Canberra have also slammed reports the former Bradford Bulls and Wigan Warriors player was seeking a release from his contract, which doesn't expire until the end of next season.
Bateman played in the Warriors' 2018 Super League Grand Final victory, and 12 months later, at the end of his first season with the Raiders, played in the NRL decider when his team lost to the Roosters.
Canberra are paying him around $580,000 per season, but Bateman's new agent Isaac Moses is believed to have been pushing for an upgrade worth upwards of $800,000.
The Green Machine are preparing to relaunch their NRL campaign on the road against Melbourne Storm next Saturday.
Canberra Raiders are 5.00 to win the grand final.
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