Wigan coach Shaun Wane has paid tribute to John Bateman, following his Man of Steel nomination.
Bateman, 24, has the chance to leave the Warriors on a high note with both a personal and a club accolate, with Wane’s men well in with a chance of glory in the Grand Final at Old Trafford next month.
And Wane, who himself will depart the club at the end of the season, revealed just how much Bateman has progressed in his four years since joining from Bradford.
He said: “He’s an outstanding competitor and a great lad off the field. He’s a really popular member of the squad and I’ve really enjoyed coaching him.
“He came over here as a young kid and I remember our first chat and he nearly collapsed because he was that nervous. Now he’s a lot more confident and he’s shown that in performances. He’s been a credit to coach.”
Bateman is joining Canberra Raiders on a three-year deal, following in the footsteps of Sam Tomkins, who left Wigan earlier in his career to try his hand at the NRL with New Zealand Warriors.
England international Bateman will be hoping he can also emulate Tomkins’ achievement in winning the Man of Steel award, which he achieved back in 2012, the last Wigan player to do so.
Catalans-bound Tomkins said: “John has been outstanding for us this year, in fact the past few he has been at the club.
“I think he’s made a difference, he’s a natural competitor and in games you can see that. Very often there is not much on, he gets the ball in his hands and makes something happen and that’s something you can’t teach. It’s something that he’s got in abundance.”