John Bateman has been touted as leaving Wigan for much of the off-season by reports in Australia.
The superstar back-rower is expected to head back to the NRL where he has already had a successful stint with the Canberra Raiders during the 2019 and 2020 seasons.
His time in Australia saw him earn both personal and team accomplishments. He helped the Raiders make their first Grand Final in 25 years and also earned the Daly M second-rower of the year award.
A return to England and his beloved Wigan followed ahead of the 2021 season but smoke around a potential return to the NRL has turned into fire in recent weeks, with his partner and young son having already relocated to Australia.
Wests Tigers are the side eager for his signature and they’ll need all the help as they finished bottom of the NRL for the second consecutive season in 2022.
As part of their efforts to turn fortunes around, and with money in the bank, Wests also trying to re-sign half-back Mitchell Moses according News Corp’s Dave Riccio, which is a potential sticking point in their move for Bateman.
Moses played for the Tigers for three seasons before switching to Parramatta where he has just helped take them to the Grand Final, prior to captaining Lebanon at the 2021 Rugby League World Cup.
The Tigers want both players but they’re low on cap space and as a result they are trying to work a deal that sees both players in black and gold next season, with reports suggesting Moses is the reason for Bateman’s delayed transfer.
Moses shares the same manager with Bateman, making a move for both still realistic as all parties work together to find a deal.
“The Wests Tigers have actually agreed to pay Bateman’s transfer fee from the UK. That’s all happening,” Channel 7 journalist Michelle Bishop said on SEN 1170 Breakfast.
“The Mitchell Moses situation could be the thing that’s holding it up. The Tigers are going all guns blazing and they actually want Moses for 2023. They need to leave some cash in the cap for that to become a reality.
“Both Bateman and Moses share the same player manager, so they clearly hold the trump card in this one.”