John Bateman on: Wearing 13, loose forward role & being home

Josh McAllister

John Bateman says he is looking forward to the chance of playing at loose forward for Wigan after being handed the number 13 shirt by coach Adrian Lam.

The England international has inherited the shirt from former captain Sean O’Loughlin, who retired from the sport and joined the coaching staff at Wigan at the end of last season after a stellar 19-year playing career at the club.

Bateman, who has signed a four-year deal with the Warriors, is excited by the prospect of playing in the loose forward role.

He said: “You look at the people that have worn it (number 13) before me, obviously Lockers wore it for a long time and it hasn’t been passed around many people.

“It’s good to get that number and I’m really looking forward to going out on that field and wearing it with pride.

“I’m happy for it, I’m looking forward to it and I think it’ll bring on my game a lot more.

“Waney (Shaun Wane) tried me there a few times and I actually started there at Canberra as well, so it’s a position I’m pretty familiar with so I’m looking forward to it to be honest with you.

“It’s good to have Lockers around. He knows the game inside out and being my mate as well it’s obviously good to have a laugh with him and stuff. It’s good to have him around the club and he’s put some of his ideas across.”

John Bateman will wear the number 13 for Wigan this season

The 27-year-old returns to Wigan after a successful stint in the NRL with Canberra Raiders, which saw him help the club reach their first NRL Grand Final since 1994.

But the 2019 Dally M second-rower of the year was happy to admit he missed home, with a return to the club where he won the 2016 and 2018 Super League Grand Finals.

He said: “Home is where the heart is and that’s a good saying because it’s true.

“It’s good to be back and I’m enjoying being back with my family and enjoying being back closer to my mates and stuff, and I’m enjoying being back at Wigan.

“It’s where I wanted to be, if I didn’t want to be here I’d have stayed at Canberra, and it’s as simple as that.”

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