Raiders star explains explosive ‘fake tweet’
John Bateman has spoken out about an elaborate fake tweet hack that made it seem like he'd slammed Canberra Raiders chief executive Don Furner.
The England Test forward seems unlikely to be with the Raiders next season due to salary cap constraints. He is currently earning about $600,000 per season but believes he could get $800,000 from another club, with the Bulldogs and Dragons touted as suitors.
Bateman has vehemently denied requesting a release, though he now has permission to negotiate with other clubs. He slammed Fox Sports reporter James Hooper over the release claim and seemed to take a shot at Furner over the weekend.
"I swear it wasn't me. I haven't got a clue where it came from. Someone has tried to set me up," Bateman told The Daily Telegraph of the above post.
"I even Googled 'how do you make a fake tweet' when it was brought to my attention to find out how it could happen. I'd never say anything like that about Don. I like him."
Bateman said that his first choice was to remain with the Raiders, but that looked unlikely due to recent upgrades for other players; including Jack Wighton, Jarrod Croker and Nick Cotric.
The 26-year-old said that he was intent on securing a long-term deal for more money to provide for his daughter. He has a renegotiation clause for the end of each season in his current contract.
"I thought I had a pretty good year last year and Canberra said, 'Yeah, you went pretty well, but we don't really have much for you in 2021'," Bateman told The Sydney Morning Herald.
"In 2022 they didn't have anything. If I extend, I want to extend four years. I want to stay here. This is where I want to be. I've got half of England here playing with me. It's a home away from home. Canberra said they might be able to get me a deal for 2022 if I wait and see what happens, but to be honest with you I wanted the security in my job.
"Who says I'm going to have as good as a year I had last year in 2020 and 2021? Who says we don't get to 2022 and they say 'right he's no good anymore'. People don't see that side of it."