Wigan and England forward John Bateman considering NRL offers
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By PA Sport
Last Updated: 13/06/18 10:31am
England international John Bateman is weighing up two offers from NRL clubs for 2019.
The 24-year-old Wigan back rower, who was this week named in England's 19-man squad for the Denver Test against New Zealand, is under contract with his Super League club for another 18 months, but has a release clause enabling him to move to Australia at the end of this year.
Bateman, a former Bradford player, is being linked with Cronulla and Canberra, who have already signed his club-mate Ryan Sutton for 2019, but says he plans to talk to Wigan before making a final decision.
"I just keep batting it back and forth with Wigan," said Bateman.
"Wigan's my priority at this moment in time.
"I'm going to weigh up all my options, I've got a family so it's not an easy move, not like jumping in a car is it, it's the other side of the world at the end of the day.
"It's massive for me. Like I say, I'm really happy at Wigan."
Wigan are set for major change, with Joel Tomkins having already left for Hull KR, brother Sam off to Catalans at the end of the year, and head coach Shaun Wane stepping down.
Bateman says he will take that into consideration during his deliberations.
"Obviously it's a big thing with Waney leaving," he said. "He's coached me since I got there.
"I just want to sit down with all parties and literally get it all out on the table and see what's what.
"I've got a couple of offers [from NRL clubs] and I'll probably make a decision in the next month or so. I'll get this Denver game out of the way first."
Although James Graham, Elliott Whitehead, Josh Hodgson and the Burgess brothers have all proved themselves in the NRL after switching from Super League in recent times, Bateman acknowledges that for every success there is a notable failure.
Former St Helens second rower Joe Greenwood has this week cut short his stint with Gold Coast Titans to sign for Wigan, following similar decisions of his Warriors team-mates Dan Sarginson, Joe Burgess and Sam Tomkins.
"There's been a few come back," said Bateman. "They all say it's hard but, speaking to them, they enjoyed it over there.
"It's a different life, totally different to England. If I was to go over there, it would be a test."
Meanwhile, Bateman is looking forward to making a 9,000-mile round trip to Colorado for England's mid-season international against the Kiwis on June 23.
"It's one of the places that I never thought I'd go to," he said. "I didn't even know where it was on the map.
"It's obviously exciting, being part of the first game to be played there, it will be interesting to see how the Americans get behind it."
Bateman was used as a centre throughout the 2017 World Cup, just as he has with Wigan in the absence of the injured Sarginson, but is hoping for a return to the pack with England.
"That's my natural and preferred position but I've always said I don't mind where I'm playing, as long as I'm in the team," he said.