Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
Recently word has gotten out that Wigan Warriors second-rower John Bateman had attracted the attention of multiple NRL clubs, and that he could be set for a return to Australia.
While it was unclear exactly which clubs were interested in Bateman’s services before, we now have a clearer idea based on a report from the Daily Telegraph’s Dean Ritchie.
“It was a whisper over the weekend and now it’s become the talk of a number of clubs,” Ritchie said.
“There’s no offer yet, but he’s over there in England playing for Wigan at the moment.
“He’s married to an Australian and there’s a suggestion she’d like to come home.
“It’s in an embryonic stage, and clubs are monitoring it. I certainly think given we don’t know what price he’ll put on himself.
“If he comes back with a bit of value there would be clubs jumping at him.
“I think the Tigers would look at him as he’s the player they need and obviously Michael Maguire’s link to Wigan.”
A Wests Tigers move for John Bateman would be an interesting one to say the least, as the club already has a decent pairing in the second row with Luciano Leilua and Luke Garner, meaning one of these players would likely be pushed to the bench if Bateman was to sign for the Tigers.
Unfortunately for Bateman, his Super League return has not gone exactly to plan, with injury troubles plaguing Wigan and causing the club to go through a form slump that they would likely not have experienced if at full strength.
The 27-year-old has of course played in the NRL before with the Canberra Raiders, with Bateman making the move to Australia in 2019, and proving a key component of the Green Machine’s first Grand Final campaign in 25 years, as they would go down to the Sydney Roosters on the night.
One motivating factor for Bateman’s return could be to rectify this, and win his first premiership in the NRL, as he has already achieved Super League glory in the past.
At the moment, if that happens it will seemingly be with the Wests Tigers.