After months, John Bateman’s Wigan Warriors exit has finally been confirmed as he joins Wests Tigers.
But what did the Australian press make of the news?
Zero Tackle suggested he was a key part of the Tigers’ rebuild: “Former Canberra Raider John Bateman has ended his brief NRL hiatus, signing on with the Wests Tigers for the next four seasons.
“Bateman, 29, turned out for the ‘Green Machine’ on 34 occasions between 2019 and 2020 before making his return to the Old Dart, linking up with Wigan across the past pair of seasons.
“Long linked with a return Down Under, Bateman confirmed the game’s worst secret on Monday, putting pen to paper on a four-year deal to join Tim Sheens’ pride.
“Speaking in the wake of snaring the versatile Englishman’s signature, Sheens stated that Bateman would offer plenty to the rebuilding side.”
Meanwhile the Daily Telegraph described it as “an impressive signing” and key to the Tigers’ revolution: “England international John Bateman has signed a four-year deal with Wests Tigers as the Tim Sheens revolution continues at the joint venture.
“The Bateman deal continues an impressive signing spree from the Tigers after they landed David Klemmer, Isaiah Papali’i, Api Koroisau and Charlie Staines.”
The West Australian meanwhile claimed it gives Wests their best chance of making the play-offs in years: “The Wests Tigers’ hopes of ending the NRL’s longest finals drought appear more realistic than ever after they signed England international John Bateman.
“The former Canberra Raiders back-rower will join the Tigers on a four-year deal after being released from Wigan for what the English club describe as a ‘significant transfer fee’.”
On the other side of things, the Sydney Morning Herald have described Wigan’s statement in response to the news as “airing their frustrations.”
This has been somewhat echoed by the Mole of Wide World of Sports has claimed Wigan “fumed” over the news in their statement this morning.
He said: “Glamour English club Wigan has expressed its displeasure with star forward John Bateman after reluctantly releasing him to join Wests Tigers on a long-term deal.
“The Warriors put out a press release in which they clearly stated they were desperate to keep the talented forward and only let him go after repeated requests.”