Over the last few months, there has been speculation that John Bateman could be headed back to the NRL.
Bateman earnt a move to Canberra ahead of 2019 after being a focal part of a successful Wigan team under Shaun Wane and due to his no nonsense approach to the game.
He made an instant impact being included in the Dally M Team of the Year and helping the Raiders to the Grand Final where they came up short against Sydney Roosters.
In 2020, injuries and the pandemic led to him receiving an early release as he took on a bumper deal at Wigan assuming Sean O’Loughlin’s number 13 shirt as the Wigan skipper retired.
Bateman has been one of a number of Wigan players linked with a move to the NRL. The Warriors fought off Newcastle Knights to keep livewire Bevan French at the club for another two seasons whilst the Knights, who have reportedly captured Kai Pearce-Paul for 2024, have been denied the back-row/centre in 2023 with Wigan rejecting a push for an early release.
It seems now that Wigan have won on all fronts when it comes to fending off NRL interest for their star players too with Zerotackle and the Daily Telegraph reporting that the Wests Tigers – the club of Bateman’s former Wigan teammate Jackson Hastings and the side chasing the second-row – has now pulled out of a potential move for the Wigan star due to the transfer fee Wigan would demand for the second-row who still has two years left on his deal.
The reports down under state that Wigan put a $350,000 asking price on Bateman which deterred the Tigers. This fee would equate to just over £200,000 in the UK.
It’s good news for Super League that one of its star players is set to stay in the competition but frustrating for Wests fans as they look to climb back up the table after a difficult 2022.
With his future now seemingly sorted, Bateman can focus on the World Cup. He will miss the first game against Samoa after receiving a three-match ban for a late hit on Leeds’ Aidan Sezer in Super League however one game can be served for the England Knights and for England’s warm-up against Fiji.