On Boxing Day, one of the biggest transfer stories of the year was finally confirmed when Wigan Warriors announced the exit of star player John Bateman.
Many believe Wigan and their fans have been left aggrieved by the move based on the Warriors’ statement.
If indeed they are disappointed by the move, they may not be the only ones with Zero Tackle reporting that fans of his former NRL club the Canberra Raiders have been left frustrated after he cut his time short in the Australian capital only to return to the NRL with a different team two years later.
However, the Australian publication has now taken to defending Bateman to the Canberra fans.
They said: “Remaining in the NRL suddenly wasn’t an option for Bateman if he wanted to see his daughter in person, instead requesting an early release from his contract with the Raiders to return to his former Super League club, Wigan.
“He’s since had a second child, with his Australian partner whom he met during his Canberra stint, the Wests Tigers deal allowing her to return home to raise the child around her family.
Maybe Canberra fans are mad he decided to return to the NRL with a different club, however, where would he fit into the Raiders’ side today?
“The club already has the likes of Elliott Whitehead, Hudson Young and Corey Harawira-Naera to play on the edges, while Joseph Tapine is at home at lock as he is in the front-row.
“Sure, it’s always hard to watch a star that flourished at your club succeed elsewhere, but you can’t blame him for wanting to be with his daughter amidst the dawn of the pandemic.
“So instead of booing the 29-year-old when he makes an eventual away trip to GIO Stadium, cheer for the good he delivered to the club, and enjoy getting to watch one of the world’s best edge forwards ply his trade in the NRL each and every week.”