Goodbye Curtis

BY DAN

Yesterday it emerged that Curtis Scott would (likely) be leaving the Raiders, almost immediately. We flagged this as a likelihood recently (as did almost everyone else). The team’s circumstances, both in terms of the immediate challenge of this season and the roster structure going forward, made Scott’s departure seemingly inevitable.

The report initially came from Channel 7, was confirmed by NRL.com, but the real news came from David Riccio at the Daily Telegraph a man who continues to get the good oil from Ricky Stuart. In Riccio’s piece, he quoted Stuart saying:

Agent Sam Ayoub contacted us (the Raiders) on Tuesday night to discuss the possibility of Curtis going to the Wests Tigers. It’s been left with Tigers management to work with Don Furner to see if something can be worked out

Sticky to the Daily Telegraph

Update: Christian Nicolussi of the Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that Tigers coach Michael Macguire has rejected any approach for Curtis. This is interesting, and suggests that Ayoub is dealing with someone else at the Tigers, and shows just how much trading is done by agents these days. Either way, it indicates Canberra is looking to move on from Scott.

As was noted when Scott joined the Raiders, or whenever there’s been a personnel chase in Canberra, Sticky only puts his name to something when it’s definitely something Canberra are trying to make happen. The quote was hardly screaming ‘we don’t want to lose Curtis’ and it’s hard not think that Stuart has come to the end of his tether with the complex character of Scott. I’m not refreshing my twitter feed waiting for an update, but it would surprise me if Scott is in Canberra by the time their round 21 game against the Dragons rolls around.

It ends what can only be considered a frustrating career for Scott in Canberra. Initially he was meant to be an upside play – a young talent choosing Canberra to finalise a shift from potential to fulfilment. For the Milk he was a meant to be a more stable if less game-breaking (in all senses of the word) replacement for BJ Leilua. There was a brief second when there was a possibility of them both being in the same team, which in retrospect seems like playing with matches at the petrol station. It soon became clear that Scott was BJ’s replacement. The Raiders were getting a deal with Melbourne paying freight, and that probably should have been a hint. In the end it seems it was the perfect time to let BJ go, it’s just the replacement arguably added less.

Scott promised a lot initially. Despite the chaos of his first *ahem* “celebration” with the club, there was the budding bromance with Nic Cotric and an initial promise of a connection with George Williams. That collapsed in a hole right around the time that Bradman Best treated him like a traffic cone. After that 2020 was a write-off, between injury and form Scott never seemed to have his mind fully on what was in front of him. It was understandable given what he’d been through off the field.

2021 promised more, and we hoped he would find his best with a clear mind and a full heart. There were glimpses where one might think it was paying off. He was utilised as a firestarter in offence, a fulcrum on the right that could beat his man one-on-one and potentially be the mix of variability, power and agility Canberra needed to inject some dynamism into their attack. In the six weeks leading up to his last game, he was averaging 120 metres, three tackle breaks and had three line-breaks. He only missed seven tackles over that period. You’d almost go so far to say he was looking comfortable.

But Kokomo happened, and while the investigation played out, the flotsam that floated out from the wreckage to the media started to suggest that whatever the outcome, Canberra were looking past Scott to less challenging, but equally talented options on the roster. It’s mostly sad. Scott has always struck me as fighting too many battles, with himself, with his critics, with the world, rather than focusing on his battles on the field. I always wanted him to get a bit of clear air to play some good footy and let the rest of it work itself out, but alas even when that started to happen, something got in his way (on that occasion, it was him). The promise was always greater than the output. It feels like it was never meant to happen in Canberra. My feeling is he’ll put it all together one day, and I’ll be happy for him when he does.

It’s not clear how much cap space Canberra will get out of this. Melbourne would have paid some of his deal last year, and probably less this year. If the Tigers take him on, it’s hard to know if we’ll be paying money on his deal through its entirety to end 2023. So rather than cap space this is addition by subtraction. Matt Timoko and Seb Kris are the identified future at the right side centre position, both are contracted to the end of 2024, and now have a clear pathway to succeed at the position over the coming years. How much money is freed up by this move could play a big role in keeping Jordan Rapana around next year too. And part of me wonders if this is part of a deal to see Luke Brooks come to Canberra. Only time will tell on that front. Curtis Scott certainly isn’t Jack Wighton and Josh Hodgson after all.

So it’s (likely) goodbye to Curtis. I wish him nothing but the best, and I hope his road less travelled still finds him at the destination his talent deserves. It wasn’t to be in Canberra.

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