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John Bateman set for Super League return with Wests Tigers release imminent

John Bateman

John Bateman has an enjoyed a long and successful career in both Super League and NRL. The Bradford Bulls product may now be set for a return to Super League, just two years after returning to the NRL with Wests Tigers.

Having broken into the Bradford side in 2011, Bateman joined Wigan Warriors in 2014. He had a hugely successful spell with Wigan, winning two Super League titles and a World Club Challenge in 132 appearances in Cherry and White. He left for his first stint in NRL in 2018, spending two years with the Canberra Raiders, before returning to Wigan in 2021.

He won another Challenge Cup for the Warriors before returning to Australia with the Wests. However, it now appears that Bateman’s second spell in the NRL may be set to come to an end. The Tigers have won just two games this season, and are keen to refresh their squad ahead of the 2025 season.

John Bateman set for NRL exit

John Bateman

Credit: Imago Images

According to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald, Bateman could be on the verge of leaving the Wests Tigers. Wests Chief Executive, Shane Richardson, has flown to the United Kingdom to discuss deals for a number of the club’s under performing stars.

Bateman is one of the names which Richardson has been tasked with moving on. Bateman joined the Tigers ahead of the 2023 season, signing a four-year contract to the end of the 2026 season. Bateman’s salary is a reported $600,000 a year, which the Tigers are keen to free up.

The Tigers will sign star player, Jarome Luai, from the 2025 season, on a five year deal. Luai will earn a reported $1.2 million, which means that Wests need to significantly trim their wage bill to facilitate the move. Luai was part of the Penrith Panthers side which travelled to Wigan to contest the 2024 World Club Challenge. He has won three NRL Championships in his six year career with the Panthers.

Bateman availability to ignite Super League scramble

News of Bateman’s availability is likely to ignite a scramble in Super League to secure the England International’s signature. Bateman, who has played 24 times for England and four times for Great Britain, is still one of the best English second rowers on the market and several Super League clubs will be keen to tie him down.

Bateman’s salary equates to around £300,000, so he would command a marquee spot in a Super League squad. However, this is unlikely to deter interested clubs. However, it is reported that the Tigers are willing to make financial concessions they would not usually make to facilitate the move.

Bateman remains a regular in the Wests Tigers, and has made eight appearances for the Tigers in NRL this season. He played the full 80 minutes in six of those games, including both of the Tigers wins this season.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Philip Croston

    May 22, 2024 at 4:19 pm

    Having jumped ship from the Wigan Warriors I should think that it is highly unlikely that he will be welcomed back to the club.
    I saw all the games he played in his second spell at Wigan and he was bang average at best.
    I think that clubs work out tactics to deal with players that have caused them problems and I am convinced that he will never get back to the sparkling form of his first spell with us.

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