It took a long time but John Bateman finally arrived in Australia last week after a transfer story that had consumed the entire off-season.
The England international was confirmed as signing for Wests Tigers in December but following complications he wasn’t able to join up with his new club until just recently.
It had been reported by The Sydney Morning Herald that a Visa issue left Bateman stranded in the UK.
It now seems the former Canberra Raiders forward will not be available for the opening game of the season, despite previous reports that he would be thrown straight in.
Bateman, who is joining the club on a four-year deal, had been doing online work to try and familiarise himself with the team and their style of play and he’d reported himself as eager to get started.
“I have been training by myself, but you can’t do the team stuff,” he said on the club’s website.
“I’m up for it and looking forward to getting going.
“(Coach Tim Sheens) has been sending me over some clips, I have been looking through them and some of the plays.
“I’ve just been keeping my eye on that and trying to keep on top of it and what we do in training.
“The last couple of weeks we have had games, so I’ve been able to keep an eye on that.”
Despite his keenness the most recent report from the Sydney Morning Herald is that they don’t expect the Englishman to take part in round one.
Wests face Gold Coast Titans and it’s expected that the former Wigan man will be kept on the side-lines given his disrupted pre-season with his new side.
The second-rower could make his debut instead in round two when Wests host Newcastle Knights.