The fascinating inside story behind John Bateman’s Wigan Warriors departure revealed

John Bateman of the Wigan Warriors is leaving the DW Stadium behind for a second time to take up an opportunity in the NRL.

In 2018, Bateman left Wigan for Canberra Raiders and was a huge success but returned after just two seasons for a miriade of reasons some pertaining to the pandemic.

However, after two years and a Challenge Cup Final win, Bateman is headed back down under with the Wests Tigers.

The prospect of this happening started in the summer when reports down under revealed that Wests were pursuing Bateman. These were helped along by former Super League star Elliot Whitehead who starred with Bateman for the Raiders.

He spoke about Bateman in an interview further spinning the rumour mill. However, the chances of a move died down as it was reported the Tigers were deterred by the transfer fee Wigan demanded with Bateman having a number of years left on his deal at the DW.

But a reported meeting between Bateman and Tigers boss, formerly of Hull KR, Tim Sheens, catalysed things once again and now Wests were happy to pay the fee.

In the weeks following this meeting, which is said to have taken place during the World Cup whilst Sheens was helping Italy, the move was finalised.

Now, following confirmation of this news, the Warriors have revealed more of the inside story behind his departure:

“The club first heard murmurings that John Bateman wanted to leave in July. After speaking to John, his agent and the club in question, we made it clear that we wanted John to remain at Wigan and the matter was closed.

“During the World Cup campaign, John let the club know of his desire to go back to the NRL. He asked to get the World Cup out of the way first, and then pick up discussions. With our desire to help England to do well in the tournament, we agreed to wait. After the tournament, John went on holiday and expressed his uncertainty regarding his future and requested time again to sort out in his own mind what he wanted to do.

“On Wednesday 14th of December, John informed us of his decision that he wants to try the NRL one more time. It has been somewhat of a frustrating period but the club now accepts that it is in everyone’s best interests that John is allowed a transfer from Wigan. On Friday 23rd December, the paperwork was completed.”

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