NRL journalist reveals Wigan were happy to let John Bateman leave

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

It was reported by The Sydney Morning Herald that a Visa issue left Bateman stranded in the UK.

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.

Speaking to SEN radio in Australia, Wests Tigers’ chairman Lee Hagipantelis explained why Bateman was still stranded in England.

“It’s got to go through police checks here, police check over there, he stands in line, there’s no exceptional circumstances for him (to) jump the queue,” Hagipantelis said on SEN 1170 Breakfast.

“It’s a working visa of course, it’s not a tourist visa which is much easier to get… we’re just going through the motions.

“It’s beyond frustrating. I’m not going to make any excuses, we would have loved to have him here by now.

“We spoke to him last night via Zoom at our season launch; he’s very excited to get here. He’s doing what he needs to do to keep himself fit and train, and they’re sending him all the plays.”

Then the $42 police check was completed and following this Bateman has finally landed in Australia.

“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.”

He will miss the first few games of the season as he gets ready.

A major signing, Daily Telegraph journalist Phil Rothfield has questioned the move and paying him $800,000 given that Wigan were happy to let him go.

He said on NRL 360: “I’d like to mention Bateman, who I’m told from sources in England, that although Wigan demanded a transfer fee, they weren’t all that fussed about letting him go.

“His form was nothing like the year when he was Dally M second-row forward of the year at the Raiders. Now to be paying John Bateman $800,000 when most edge forwards now like Olakau’atu, Kikau and Liam Martin are big strong and powerful.

“I don’t think he’s got that build anymore and I’m not sure it’s $800k well spent.”

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments