The End of Scott in Canberra?

BY DAN

It was a long time coming, but light has finally been shed on the Curtis Scott situation. A breach notice with a three game suspension and $15k attached is the result. It’s brought resolution to his case, and theoretically opened up the door to him playing again. But all indications are in the opposite direction.

The three game ban is backdated, meaning that in a non-Rona world, Scott could have rejoined the club almost immediately. Unfortunately he’s not been included on the Milk’s register for the Queensland bubble, meaning that while Coronavirus is around, Scott can’t play for Canberra. I’m no epidemiologist, but as V’Landys has noted, the NRL may be in Queensland for the rest of the year, meaning Scott’s fate, for this year at least, may well be sealed.

As much has been noted by David Riccio of The Daily Telegraph, who said that not only with Scott be unlikely to play this season, but it was increasingly unlikely he’d play for the club again. He expanded on NRL360 saying:

The Raiders board, CEO Don Furner and coach Ricky Stuart treat culture in the highest regard. They are frowning upon this one. I’m confident in saying Curtis Scott has played his last first grade game for the Canberra Raiders this year, and potentially into the future as well.

Before you get annoyed that I’m suggesting we trust a Tele reporter, Riccio suggesting it certainly raised an eyebrow. While what Riccio has reported in the past about the Raiders hasn’t always come to pass, it’s always been clear that he has a secure line with Stuart. If he’s not telling you exactly what Sticky told him, then he’s at least got a reading on the coach’s thinking.

The view that Scott’s time is limited is supported by the circumstances of the club now. The fact he’s not been included in the list for Queensland is a fair indication of where he stands. That the club had already let him leave the team’s bubble to spend time in Sydney (presumably with family) was another indicator.

The other measure that supports Riccio’s position has been the change in options for the Green Machine. Scott has never been able to reach his potential for the Milk. He’s been held of the pitch by injury and circumstance, and what upside and good moments he’s displayed have been outweighed by the time he’s spent off the field. The Raiders are halfway through his contract and he’s almost watched more games than he’s played, with no indication as to whether he’ll ever fulfil his admittedly tantalising talent. Right now Canberra have promise coming out of their earholes. They need some stability and consistency, and Scott has been unable to provide it. In the meantime they have gotten more of a look at their emerging roster and appear to be turning in that direction. If you were on the fence about whether there was a long term commitment to Scott you just need to note that they just extended both Seb Kris and Matt Timoko for deals that conspicuously exceed Scott’s by a year. Giving the competition more job security hardly paints a good picture for Scott.

The only thing that makes me wonder if Scott will stay longer is the desire to keep change an upheaval to a minimum. There’s been so much disruption at the club this season that one can understand trying to make the noise stop. It’s not a strong argument – particularly given the Raiders have seen fit to leave Curtis out of Queensland. It’s also an admission of failure. Scott is still young, yet to reach his prime and has plenty of talent. The Raiders couldn’t make it work, but then again neither could Bellamy and the Storm’s incredible system, so I suppose it’s no shame. It’ll cost though, and Canberra’s recruitment challenges always mean that it can ill afford to miss like this. But they also can’t carry his full wage while he whittles away his time outside first grade or off the field.

It’s a shame, because I’ve always had hope that Scott would turn it around in Canberra and prove the many people frustrated with him wrong. He’s always struck me as a guy too distracted by the world external to him. Too intent on yelling at the cruel wind that blew in his face than focusing on the what lay behind the breeze. Maybe Stuart thought he could be the stability and security that Scott needed. Perhaps it will be at his next club that he’ll find what he needs to succeed, and we’ll rue what we let him go. For Curtis’ sake, I hope that’s the case.

If Scott is to leave, the how becomes interesting. I’m no lawyer, and have no idea whether the issuance of a breach notice is enough for a contract to be severed. I can’t rule it out because I don’t know. But it seems more likely that Scott will quietly remain outside the Raiders bubble while being shopped to rival clubs. Then the game of paying the freight so to speak will be the determining factor. I don’t know where Scott will be next year, but someone could be on to a cut-price talent with something to prove, courtesy of the Canberra Raiders.

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