John Bateman will no longer be with the Wigan Warriors in 2023.
Bateman, who joined the club nearly a decade ago when he left Bradford Bulls for the DW Stadium, is returning to the NRL after a stint in 2019-20 prior to returning to Wigan in 2021.
His second spell yielded a Challenge Cup Final win as well the honour of donning the number 13 shirt previously held by Sean O’Loughlin and Andy Farrell.
But with Bateman leaving to join the Wests Tigers, what are Wigan’s plans to replace the second-row?
The club today, speaking after the confirmation of his exit, confirmed that there would be no immediate replacement for Bateman and have revealed that Willie Isa and Kai Pearce-Paul will step in to fill the void especially as they will be less required at centre after the arrivals of Jake Wardle and Toby King from Huddersfield Giants and Warrington Wolves.
“Secondly, there will be no immediate replacement for John as players have their contracts agreed with their clubs.
“The recruitment of two class centres in Toby King and Jake Wardle means that Willie Isa and Kai Pearce-Paul can move back to their preferred positions at back row and with Liam Farrell and Morgan Smithies, we have lots of options.”
That said, there is a problem in so far as Pearce-Paul is headed to the NRL too at the end of next season to join the Newcastle Knights alongside Will Pryce.
Thus, they will need a replacement in 2024 for you’d think. Perhaps this is why the club added:
“We will continue to monitor the squad and the marketplace as the 2023 Super League season unfolds.”