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The Raiders will do everything in their power to ensure English half George Williams sees out his contract after reports emerged he is considering a return to the UK after growing homesick.

Canberra's expectations are that Williams will play out the final 18 months of his deal with the club and no release has been sought by the 26-year-old.

NRL.com understands the Raiders at this stage are unwilling to enter the convoluted halves market that has led to the likes of Adam Reynolds, Shaun Johnson, and UK-based ex-Dragon Gareth Widdop, tossed up as possible replacement options should his personal situation escalate.

After suffering a pre-game hamstring strain that ruled him out of a last-start loss to South Sydney, Williams and star prop Josh Papali'i are expected to return for a crucial clash with Newcastle this Saturday.

Both finals-fancied sides will travel to Wagga Wagga with a worrying 1-5 recent record, with Williams's bout of homesickness adding to concerns around Ricky Stuart's squad.

Episode 10 – Tom Trbojevic

Williams and his UK-born partner, Charlotte Lewis, are expecting their first child later this year, with their isolation from family on the other side of the world exacerbated by the global pandemic.

Plans for the couple to return to England last year, and have family visit since his arrival at the Raiders, have been scuppered by COVID-19 restrictions.

Williams raised the issue with Stuart and Raiders officials recently, with Canberra CEO Don Furner insisting the club's first priority is to help the playmaker settle and stay put in the nation's capital.

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"We relocate a lot of players from Queensland and New Zealand and England, and they get home sick from time to time," Furner told NRL.com.

"It certainly reared its head last year with COVID with a few of our guys.

"The difference is for our English players, they haven’t been able to get home because of the travel restrictions, and getting visitors here has been problematic for the same reasons for them to see their loved ones.

"George has told us that and we're going to work through that."

Williams's former Super League club Wigan, as well as Widdop's current outfit Warrington, have been linked to the Raiders playmaker given they have vacancies emerging in their halves.

Wigan's Jackson Hastings will return to Australia with Wests Tigers next year while Widdop continues to explore an NRL comeback, having recently been offered to Brisbane as a cut-price experienced recruit.

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The Raiders have built the nucleus of their impressive roster on English recruits and often gone the extra mile for them, including flights for family into contracts for several of their British imports.

A key element of John Bateman's exit last season was a desire to be in the same time zone as his young daughter Millie and the rest of his family, while COVID-19 restrictions last year meant Williams barely saw his own Australian-based father Peter despite him living in Perth.

In a regular column for BBC Sport written over the weekend, Williams gave an insight into his changed perspective with his first child due before this year's finals series.

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"Obviously, rugby league is my job and we put so much effort and time into that, most of my life has been to get where I am today, but this news has given me a different focus," Williams wrote.

"There's more to life than rugby league. It's opened my eyes. And, seeing the scans, it's unbelievable what the human body can do; seeing the baby's organs, the heart and the spine was all good. It feels pretty real now.

"Everyone I speak to says it's the best thing in the world having kids. I'm a bit nervous as I'll have to learn on the run how to be a dad, but I'll do my best and me and my partner can't wait."

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