With clubs attempting to edit their rosters ahead of the 2023 season, stars continue to be linked elsewhere or linked to big offers.
Well, one link that has come out of left field is that of Fox Sports reporting that Wigan Warriors have been contacted by NRL side Wests Tigers in a bid to bring John Bateman back to Australia.
Of course, stranger things have happened, but Fox Sports has reported that the Lancashire club have rejected the approach, considering the fact that Bateman is still under contract at the DW Stadium until the end of 2024, and, of course why would they want to let him go?
The England international has already dallied with the idea of a career in the NRL, having performed impressively for the Canberra Raiders in a short stay Down Under when he was awarded the Dally M Back Rower of the Year in 2019 – the year in which the Green Machine made the Grand Final.
Bateman departed Canberra for Wigan at the end of the 2020 season, signing a four-year deal with the Warriors, meaning he is still under contract until the end of 2024 – which could be a major obstacle in Wests’ potential hunt for the forward.
Tigers director of football Tim Sheens has confirmed the Tigers have made the approach in a bid to lure the 28-year-old back to Australia for a second time.
With Bateman under contract, it would mean that the Tigers would have to pay a transfer fee like the $250,000 that Canberra had to pay Wigan all those years ago, though transfer fees to English clubs aren’t included in the salary cap for NRL sides.
Sheens is desperate to overhaul the Wests roster ahead of 2023 following a dismal year so far as the club gets ready to welcome Benji Marshall and a new era to Concord.