Wigan Warriors have lost John Bateman to Wests Tigers in 2023.
Though the club have stated that they will not sign an immediate replacement for the backrow trusting Willie Isa and Kai Pearce-Paul to fill that role, Pearce-Paul’s exit to the NRL for 2024 as well as James McDonnell’s move to Leeds Rhinos means the Warriors will be in the market for a backrow for 2024 especially as Isa and skipper Liam Farrell are not getting any younger.
The perfect signing could very well be Leeds Rhinos academy product AJ Wallace who is one of the most exciting young forwards in Britain.
The Bradford Bulls backrow shone in the Betfred Championship at Odsal in recent times ever since he made the move after coming through the academy system at Leeds Rhinos.
He has stirred up plenty of interest from Super League clubs and a couple of sides have chased his signature going into the 2023 season.
In Lee Radford’s quest to add young British players to his squad at the Jungle, the Castleford Tigers boss made a move for Wallace to no avail.
As this fell away, it was Radford’s former club Hull FC who made a move for Wallace.
Many expected him to make the move to the MKM Stadium heading into the 2023 season however Serious About Rugby League exclusively revealed in the past that the move had fallen through.
This came as talks between the higher ups at Hull FC and Bradford come to something of a stand still as they struggled to settle on a final agreement.
Serious About Rugby League then exclusively confirmed that Wallace would be remaining at Bradford until the expiry of his current deal at Odsal at least which comes at the end of 2023.
Therefore, you can expect plenty of Super League interest around Wallace this year as he makes a decision on where his future will lie beyond 2023.
It is understood that Wallace wants a strong season in 2023 to see whether he can either help Bradford earn promotion to Super League or earn himself a move to the top tier.
This is why Wallace would be the ideal transfer target for Wigan. Not required now but will be available for 2024 should Wallace, as expected, keep his options open for 2024 given his contract ends in 2023.
He is also reminiscent of Bateman himself who Wigan signed from Bradford.