England international John Bateman will leave Canberra Raiders at the end of the 2020 NRL season after being released from the final year of his contract with the club.
The 26-year-old’s future has been widely speculated for several months, with a number of NRL sides linked to the former Bradford and Wigan second-rower.
Canterbury Bulldogs are favourites to land Bateman in a move that would see him line up with international teammate Luke Thompson in 2021, although a return to Wigan could also be on the cards.
In a statement, Canberra CEO Don Furner said: “The club made the difficult decision to allow John to pursue other long-term options and as a result, 2020 will be his final season with the Raiders.
“We’re looking forward to John returning from his shoulder injury soon and finishing his time by helping us make the finals again.
“John was fantastic in 2019, featuring in our first Grand Final appearance since 1994 and winning Dally M for second-rower of the year.”