John Bateman’s move from Wigan Warriors to the NRL recently hit a problem as he prepares to join the Wests Tigers.
It was reported by The Sydney Morning Herald that a Visa issue left Bateman stranded in the UK.
It now seems the former Canberra Raiders forward will not be available for the opening game of the season.
Bateman is joining the club on a four-year deal.
The former Wigan Warriors forward was set to link up with Wests Tigers in January, having played the last two seasons in the English Super League.
The 29-year-old joins Wests Tigers for what will be his second stint in the NRL, having made a huge impact in his two seasons with Canberra.
Bateman helped take the Raiders all the way to the NRL grand final in 2019, falling one game short of a second grand final appearance the following year.
There had been no update on when he would arrive in Australia recently and over the weekend he spent the day at former club Bradford Bulls today as they began their Championship season against Whitehaven.
Good day out watching @OfficialBullsRL In there opening game of the championship, thanks for the invite.
Also great to spend the day with @rockstar_13_ good luck for the year mate 🎯 pic.twitter.com/OEli2jArs9
— John Bateman (@johnbateman1) February 5, 2023
A last hoorah before he leaves for Australia? Wests Tigers fans will hope so.
They will also be hoping that he is not injured as concerning rumours float around Australia that the former Wigan man requires surgery but former Hull KR boss Tim Sheens in the hotseat at Wests has rubbished those rumours.
“He has had a problem (with an old syndesmosis injury) but not to the point of any concern for us,” Sheens said to the Daily Telegraph.
“He has got a couple of bumps and bruises on him but he played the World Cup,” Sheens said.
“That (the ankle issue) is not going to be the problem.
“The problem is getting him here and that is almost solved.
“I am not putting any time on it because all that does is there is more and more confusion if it doesn’t happen.”
So, Bateman could be headed down under soon but Sheens wouldn’t comment on whether he would be ready for Round One: “Again, I am not going to make a judgment on that until he gets here because once he gets here he has to fit in with everybody and pick up his running and his kilometres on his legs.
“Whether he does or not (start the season) is not worrying me”.