John Bateman: Returning Wigan Warriors star reveals disappointment at not lifting trophy in NRL
England international Bateman was a huge hit in Australia, but not lifting a trophy during his two years with Canberra Raiders hurt; "People say I was a success, but I didn't win anything and for me, it's all about winning stuff"
Last Updated: 22/01/21 3:37pm
Returning Wigan Warriors back row John Bateman looks back on his two years at Canberra Raiders with a tinge of disappointment despite winning plenty of individual plaudits during his time in the NRL.
The England international was a big hit in Australia, where his all-action style earned him a place in the prestigious Dally M team of the year at the end of his first season before a shoulder injury disrupted his campaign in 2020.
He played a key role in helping Canberra reach their first Grand Final for 25 years in 2019, only to lose to Sydney Roosters, and was in the team which lost to eventual champions Melbourne in the preliminary semi-finals last October, but ultimately could not claim the NRL title which he sought.
"People say I was a success, but I didn't win anything and for me, it's all about winning stuff," Bateman told PA Media as he prepared to begin pre-season training.
"We didn't manage to win anything in the two years that I was there, so it was very disappointing for me, that aspect of it. I've nothing to show for it.
"I might have gone well myself but it's a team sport and I'm all about winning and that's one of the biggest disappointments, not bringing anything back with me."
Bateman opted out of the last year of his three-year contract with the Raiders in order to return to Super League and also to be closer to his family, in particular his 10-year-old daughter Millie.
I might have gone well myself but it's a team sport and I'm all about winning and that's one of the biggest disappointments, not bringing anything back with me.
The 27-year-old rejected a number of lucrative offers from other NRL clubs in favour of a return to Wigan, where he has unfinished business and plans to end his career.
"About five or six clubs showed interest and there was some really good money being chucked around," said Bateman, who has signed a four-year contract with the option of a fifth at the Warriors. "But once you weigh up the pros and cons and what's best for you, it's not all about the money, it's about being happy.
"I'm not saying I wasn't enjoying it but it was about coming back and playing for Wigan and this is the most excited I've been for a long time.
"You can never say never (about another stint in the NRL) but I'm fully confident I'll be finishing my career at Wigan and that's one of my aims now.
"I've said previously I want to win everything and there are still a few trophies that I've not won over here yet. I want to do that with this group of lads."
Bateman's last match for Wigan was the 2018 Grand Final in which he helped the Warriors to a second Old Trafford triumph over Warrington Wolves in three years.
With Bateman back on board and Jai Field recruited to line up alongside fellow Australian Bevan French, Adrian Lam's team are fancied to go one better than 2020, when they suffered a last-minute defeat by St Helens in an epic Grand Final.
"They've not managed to win anything in the last two years," said Bateman, who has been handed the No. 13 jersey worn with distinction in the past by Andy Farrell and recently retired captain Sean O'Loughlin.
"Obviously they won the League Leaders Shield last year, but nobody looks at that when you don't win the Grand Final or the Challenge Cup. With the group we've got now, I can't see why we can't win everything - that's our goal."