England star John Bateman is set to miss the opening World Cup match against Toa Samoa at Newcastle’s St James Stadium after receiving a three-match suspension for a high tackle in Wigan’s semi-final loss to Leeds last weekend.
Bateman was sent off for his shot on former Canberra Raiders team-mate Aidan Sezer, who has been ruled out of the Super League grand final, and the Rugby Football League disciplinary committee imposed a three-match ban on Tuesday.
Bateman was earlier named in the England Knights squad to play France B in Bordeaux on October 1.
England officials have applied for the fixture to count towards the star second-rower’s suspension, along with a World Cup warm-up match against Fiji at Salford on October 7.
St Helens forward Morgan Knowles has also been suspended for two matches and will miss the Super League grand final against Leeds as well as the clash with Fiji.
Knowles would therefore be available for selection for the World Cup opener against Samoa on October 15, while Bateman could return in England’s next pool match against France in Bolton on October 22.
South Sydney Rabbitohs prop Tom Burgess will be free to play for England as he completes his two match suspension in this weekend’s grand final qualifier against Penrith Panthers.
If the Rabbitohs beat the NRL premiers, Burgess will be available for the October 2 grand final in Sydney.
Wigan Warriors’ John Bateman has been banned for three matches for a Grade D High Tackle committed during his side’s Betfred Super League Play-Off Semi-final against Leeds Rhinos last Friday…
— Rugby Football League (@TheRFL) September 20, 2022
Meanwhile, RLWC2021 officials have announced that the October 15 World Cup fixture between Australia and Fiji at Headingley Stadium is nearing a sell-out.
“The opening day of the tournament will see four of the top teams go head-to-head. After England Men v Samoa Men at Newcastle, it’s the world champions Australia taking on the emerging force that is Fiji,” RLWC2021 revenue director Mick Hogan said.
“The supporters in Leeds have recognised what a huge match this will be and are buying early, in large numbers. We expect to sell out of general admission seats very soon and it is also really encouraging to see the terrace areas starting to fill.
“Some of the world’s greatest players will be be representing their nation, and many of the stars won’t have been seen before in an international shirt in this country.
“We would urge fans not to miss out on what will be an incredible evening of World Cup rugby league in Leeds.”