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Why John Bateman’s NRL move has been delayed after Wigan Warriors exit

John Bateman lifts the Challenge Cup trophy for Wigan Warriors at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Yesterday it was revealed by the Sydney Morning Herald that former Wigan Warriors star John Bateman is having difficulties securing a visa ahead of his move to Wests Tigers in the NRL.

The England second-row is set for a second crack at the NRL after playing for Canberra Raiders in 2019 and 2020 helping them to the Grand Final and being awarded the Dally M backrower of the year in 2019.

He returned to Wigan after this spell, a club where he won two Super League titles, and helped them to the Challenge Cup in 2022.

Now though his return to Australia has been delayed due in part to the length of the negotiations.

Negotiations that started near the beginning of the World Cup concluded on Boxing Day which delayed his arrival though he was always expected in January due to his World Cup commitments.

However, the struggles of getting a visa have been further delayed due to the Christmas period.

“There have been a couple of issues with the visa, and the government [departments] in both countries shut down over Christmas, so that slowed us down,” new boss Tim Sheens said to the Herald.

“We’re not putting a date on when he’ll be here. We’ve got immigration people and experts trying to sort it out.

“It’s a bit unusual, but he’s also not coming on his own.

“He’s still doing plenty of weights and general fitness.

“We’re sending him videos of our training sessions and plays, and I’m in constant touch with him — we’ll speak two or three times a week. He’s aware of everything we’re doing here.”

He also revealed that the “aim” is to get him to Australia in time for the second pre-season clash against Canberra Raiders.

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