John Bateman returns to former club as big NRL move no closer

John Bateman’s move from Wigan Warriors to the NRL recently hit a problem as he prepares to join the Wests Tigers.

It was 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.

Bateman is joining the club on a four-year deal.

The former Wigan Warriors forward was set to link up with Wests Tigers in January, having played the last two seasons in the English Super League.

The 29-year-old joins Wests Tigers for what will be his second stint in the NRL, having made a huge impact in his two seasons with Canberra.

Bateman helped take the Raiders all the way to the NRL grand final in 2019, falling one game short of a second grand final appearance the following year.

Wests Tigers Head Coach Tim Sheens said at the time of the announcement that Bateman is an important addition to the team:

“He’s a world class player with an enormous work ethic.

He’s the type of player who leads by example.

Bateman himself said he was excited to be joining Wests Tigers during an exciting phase for the club.

“I can’t wait to begin a new chapter at a club that I know is going places,” he said.

“There has been a lot of change at Wests Tigers over the past few months and everything I hear is positive.

Wests Tigers CEO Justin Pascoe added: “We are delighted to welcome John and his family to the club.

“This is another important piece in what we are building as a club, and I know John will play a very important role in the time that he is with us.”

But now fans are having to wait to see the star signing in action.

He appears no closer to making the move down under as he spent the day at former club Bradford Bulls today as they began their Championship season against Whitehaven.

A last hoorah before he leaves for Australia? Wests Tigers fans will hope.

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