Wigan Warriors have lost John Bateman to the NRL for the second time in five years.
After he left the club for the Canberra Raiders in 2018, he has now departed the club for the Wests Tigers ahead of the 2023 season as the Warriors received “a significant transfer fee” for the second-row who now joins former Hull KR boss Tim Sheens’ revolution at the Tigers in 2023 and beyond.
Based of Wigan’s statement, they are indeed disappointed that Bateman has left the club and it seems the World Cup played a role in them losing one of their star men:
“During the World Cup campaign, John let the club know of his desire to go back to the NRL. He asked to get the World Cup out of the way first, and then pick up discussions. With our desire to help England to do well in the tournament, we agreed to wait. After the tournament, John went on holiday and expressed his uncertainty regarding his future and requested time again to sort out in his own mind what he wanted to do.”
That said, the club also stated that they have acted in the best interests of the club:
“As always in these situations, we have acted with the best interests of the Club at heart and we will continue to act in that manner. The Club received a significant transfer fee for John. We thank John for his service over his two stints and we wish him well.”
Meanwhile, they confirmed that the significant announcement of the 2023 squad numbers were delayed by the uncertainty around Bateman:
“In situations like this, there are obvious consequences. The uncertainty surrounding John’s future means that we have had to delay the squad numbers. The squad numbers have now been signed off and will be communicated between Christmas and New Year.