An English international and successful with the Wigan Warriors, John Bateman will head to the NRL in 2019 after signing with the Canberra Raiders.
The 24-year old has played in more than 150 Super League games and joins the Raiders on a 3-year deal from 2019.
After the success of fellow Englishmen Elliott Whitehead and Josh Hodgson, the Raiders will hope Bateman can have a similar effect.
Able to cover both centre and back-row, Bateman is a player that the club praised.
“John is a wonderful talent who has the ability and skill set to play a number of positions,” Raiders recruitment and High-Performance Director Peter Mulholland said.
“We’ve already seen the success of both Elliott Whitehead and Josh Hodgson transitioning from the Super League to the NRL and we see John as being a player who can make a similar impact in this competition.”
“At 24, he’s got the perfect mix of experience and youth and we’re really looking forward to seeing him in green in 2019.”
Bateman admits that Wigan did their best to keep him at the club but his desire to play in another league prompted his move.
“This has been an incredibly tough decision for me to make as I have enjoyed my time at Wigan so much but, ultimately, I have always had the desire to play in the NRL at some point in my career so this opportunity something I didn’t want to turn down,” Bateman said.
“Wigan did all they could, in my opinion, to keep me here but I was always upfront with them regarding my motivation to play in a different competition.”
It is not all doom and gloom for Wigan fans, however, as the completion of his Raiders deal will see them return to Wigan.
Wigan aimed to get the best deal for all parties and are pleased with the outcome of Bateman’s departure for now and eventual return.
“John was adamant that he wanted to try his hand in the NRL and, once it became clear to us that he couldn’t be persuaded, we wanted to ensure that the Club gained the best deal in these set of circumstances,” Chairman Ian Lenegan said.
“I believe we have done so.
“Despite John’s experience, he is still only 24-years old and, throughout our discussions, he has made it clear to us that he is determined to return to Wigan in the future.
He will do so as a better player then, entering the peak years of his career, so we will look forward to welcoming him back to the Club.”