In recent days, Australian publications have linked Wigan Warriors stars John Bateman and Kai Pearce-Paul with moves to the NRL.
First, Bateman was said to have attracted the attention of the Wests Tigers, with director of rugby Tim Sheens confirming the inquiry for the former Canberra Raiders star.
Wests were rebuffed in their approach, with Fox Sports claiming that Wigan had asked for £200,000 in an attempt to deflect interest away.
And, then the Daily Telegraph this morning reported that Pearce-Paul has signed for the Newcastle Knights for 2024.
Now, though, Wigan head coach Matt Peet has had his own say on proceedings, revealing that both players are Wigan players and contracted to the DW Stadium.
“I have no update on John Bateman,” Peet told Wigan Today.
“Kai (Pearce-Paul) is the same as well. I see all of the same speculation as you.”
Bateman was, of course, the Dally M Back-rower of the Year in 2019 after an incredible season in the Australian capital.
However, with the onset of Covid-19 in 2020, Bateman returned to the UK at the end of the season, wanting to be nearer family as he rejoined Wigan – the club he had left before his two-year hiatus in the NRL.
Meanwhile, Pearce-Paul is said to have been on the radar of Newcastle ever since the club’s recruitment manager met with the Sonny Bill Williams comparison earlier in the year, as per the Daily Telegraph.
Pearce-Paul has quickly developed into one of the most destructive back-rowers in the game – with an ability to play in the centres too – and is thought to be pushing for a spot in Shaun Wane’s England squad for the World Cup at the end of the year.