Wigan Warriors England International has announced he will be quitting the club to take up a two year deal with an option of a third for NRL side Canberra Raiders ahead of the 2019 season.
The 24 year olds future has been the subject of gossip column’s on both sides of the world after he was seen talking to a number of NRL club representatives during Wigan’s brief tour down under earlier this year.
At the Raiders he will be joining current Wigan team mate Ryan Sutton who announced his decision to move to the NRL months ago, while Bateman’s current England team mates Josh Hodgson and Elliot Whitehead are already regular fixtures in the Raiders starting pack.
Bateman also grow up through the Bradford Bulls Academy ranks along with Whitehead before Bateman moved to Wigan in 2014. Since then the utility player, who favours playing in the back row has played 125 games for the Warriors, scoring 36 tries and being part of the team that won the Super League Grand final in 2015 and the World Club Cup in 2016.
Some good news for the Wigan fans is that the young forward has already agreed to return to Wigan on a three year deal as one of the clubs marquee players once this new NRL deal expires.
On making the announcement Bate said;
“It's great to know I'll be returning here (to Wigan), 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.
“This opportunity is something I didn't want to turn down.”
This now mean’s the Warriors will need a big recruitment drive over the next few months, with Bateman the 4th established 1st teamer to announce he is leaving the club. 2nd row forward Joel Tomkins has already left following the ‘Wigan gate’ scandal and his brother current marquee player Sam Tomkins is moving on to Catalan Dragons, Bateman is joining Ryan Sutton at Canberra and veteran hooker Thomas Leuluai is expected to retire at the end of the season. With Head coach Shaun Wane also leaving to take up a job with the Scottish Rugby Union, whoever is lined up to replace him will have their work cut out.