It was recently announced that Luke Bateman had been released by the Canberra Raiders and would be taking a hiatus from Rugby League.
After moving to the Australian capital as a teenager, the decision had been weighing on the 25-year-old Queenslander’s mind for quite some time now.
“It’s been something I’ve been thinking about for a while, I’ve been in Canberra for 8 years and have always wanted to get back closer to my family at some stage,” Bateman tells Everything Rugby League.
“With my injury over the past 12 months and now the current climate with coronavirus I just figured it was the right move for me financially and for my life. I didn’t want it to happen this soon but that’s life and you just have to roll with the punches.”
Bateman is grateful for the opportunities he was given during his time at the Raiders and has reminisced on his favourite moment in the lime green.
“My time at the club has been fantastic, I would of played 500 games for them if I was allowed.
“I’ll remember my time with the Raiders as one of the best chapters of my life. I met fantastic people and have as many good memories off the field as on it.
“My favourite moment of my career is a hard one, I’ve got a lot of great memories. I think Ricky telling me I was going to debut would have to be up there, I’d wanted to play first grade since I was 5 years old so I just remember getting in my car and ringing everyone in my family and nearly crying I was that happy.”
Raider #328 @luke_bateman has made the tough decision to finish his time with the Club.
The Raiders wish Luke all the best for the future and thank him for his time in Green. https://t.co/huPhMjS4He
— Canberra Raiders (@RaidersCanberra) May 15, 2020
Due to the extensive amount of time he has spent with the club, he has seen first hand how the Raiders have prepared to back up and improve upon an impressive 2019.
“I believe the boys have the squad depth and talent to take out the comp this year. There’s been no hangover from last year and I think they’re really driven to go one better.”
While he is taking some time away from the game, Bateman’s time in the game of Rugby League is certainly not over and he will return. At just 25-years-old there is still plenty of time to make a comeback.
“Definitely not the end of me in Rugby League.
“I needed a short break just to reset after a frustrating 12 months with injury. But I’ll definitely continue to play, I’d love that to be at the NRL level again but if not I’d like to give some time back to my Brisbane club the Souths Logan Magpies.”