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Five Super League clubs who could sign John Bateman

John Bateman

Former Wigan Warriors star John Bateman could be returning to Super League, per reports.

He’s been plying his trade at Wests Tigers since moving there ahead of the 2023 season, but may not be there for much longer.

The Sydney Morning Herald has reported that Wests Tigers chief executive Shane Richardson has flown to England to offer players to Super League sides, with Bateman amongst the players they suggest is set to be offered.

Wests Tigers currently sit just two points ahead of bottom-side South Sydney Rabbitohs, with two wins all season.

Bateman played 132 times for Wigan Warriors, winning Super League twice as well as both the Challenge Cup and World Club Challenge once.

The back-rower was also the club’s player of the year in 2015, 2016 and 2018, and could have similar impact with a Super League return.

But where might he head? Here are three options.

Three Super League clubs who could sign John Bateman

Warrington Wolves

Warrington Wolves Challenge Cup

Credit: Imago Images

They’ve got some excellent back-rowers already, such as Ben Currie and Lachlan Fitzgibbon, who have been instrumental in Sam Burgess’ side’s excellent start to the season.

Currie has also committed to the club until the end of 2026.

However, the top sides in Super League, such as St Helens and Wigan Warriors, like to stack their forward pack, and to help cement themselves at the top end of the table, this may be the way the Wolves look to go.

Sam Burgess is also a former teammate of John Bateman, having played together for the England national side.

If the Wire are looking at making a statement signing, this would certainly be one they could look at.

Hull FC

Hull FC

Credit: Imago Images

Hull FC are getting linked with everyone under the sun, but this is for good reason.

A full-scale clear out, starting with Tex Hoy, Nu Brown and Tony Smith, is underway at the club, with even the chief executive James Clark leaving.

Richie Myler and John Asiata are amongst the incomings, and the club will no-doubt be looking to bring more big names in over the coming months.

They’ll be one of the clubs most likely to have salary space for John Bateman, and Richie Myler, and new head coach John Cartwright may be able to convince the England international to the club by pitching a new era at the club.

The reported ‘clean-out mission’ at Wests Tigers feels similar to the situation at the MKM Stadium.

Jayden Okunbor may not have been the ideal back-row signing from NRL, as he’s already been sent off to the Championship on a short-term deal, but Bateman is much more likely to hit the ground running in a return to Super League.

Wigan Warriors

John Bateman of Wigan Warriors makes a run during the Challenge Cup Semi Final match between Wigan and St Helens at Elland Road

Credit: Imago Images

This one is an obvious shout, given they’re a former club of his.

Bateman is reportedly on over £300,000 a year, and would almost certainly have to take a significant pay cut if he was to head back to Super League.

Therefore, it could be personal connections that determine where he’d most like to go, and of course, Bateman has no closer ties with any Super League club than he does with Wigan Warriors.

He spent seven seasons, in two separate spells, with the club, and already made a return to Wigan from NRL after his two-year stint at Canberra Raiders.

A big name, in Willie Isa, could be on his way out of the club at the end of the season, as he’s off-contract at the end of 2024, and Bateman could be the big-name replacement for the Warriors that they’ll be interested in.

It does, however, seem that they probably don’t need him.

Leeds Rhinos

Leeds Rhinos players

Credit: Imago Images

There’s no doubt that the forward pack has been Leeds Rhinos’ Achilles heel this season, and Rohan Smith’s side are currently some way away from where they want to be.

Bateman would bring a presence, both as a leader and physically on the field, which could be what they need to get back to the top-end of the table.

Being from Bradford, where he started his professional career, he’d also be much closer to home if he moved to Headingley.

His last game involving Leeds Rhinos ended badly, however, as he was sent off in the 2022 playoff semi-final for a high-tackle on former Canberra Raiders teammate Aiden Sezer.

Hopefully, that’ll be long forgotten if his return to Super League sees him end up at Leeds.

Leigh Leopards

Leigh Leopards celebrate

Credit: Imago Images

It’s been a recruitment nightmare for Leigh Leopards in 2024, and they’ve also lost Tom Amone and John Asiata, with Lachlan Lam potentially joining them on the way out.

Therefore, they’ll be desperate to start on big-name signings as soon as possible, and if they were one of the clubs Bateman was offered to, it would be a huge surprise if they, and Derek Beaumont, don’t jump at the chance.

Oli Holmes and Jack Hughes, both second-rowers, are off-contract at the end of this season, and with no guarantees yet that they’ll remain at the club, they could be faced with a major gap in Bateman’s position that they need to fill.

They’ll also almost certainly have plenty of salary cap space after the big losses they’ve already endured this season.

Watch this space.

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Michael

    May 22, 2024 at 8:24 pm

    Warington fan here … Im hoping that any reports that may start to emerge linking him with Warrington are just pure speculation … Unless 1 of Nicholson, Fitzgibbon or Gurrie are on the move then its a resounding” no thanks ” … Just didnt seem to be the same player during his 2nd stint at Wigan

  2. Gary

    May 22, 2024 at 9:21 pm

    Wigan definitely do not need or want the John Bateman that came back from Oz last time – just not up to the standards he had previously set for himself. Hopefully going to Wire or Leeds — he’s their level of player now

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