Bateman hoping to nail down Canberra first-team spot

John Bateman spoke for the first time since joining Canberra Raiders, and laid out his aims to gain a spot in the first team as quickly as he can.

Last season saw Bateman shortlisted for Man of Steel, after helping Wigan Warriors to Grand Final victory. After settling into pre-season with the Raiders he believes is is now well-prepared to hit the ground running.

“I’d probably say last year was a breakthrough year,” he said. “I had an injury the year before and I really wanted to give it a go last year. I didn’t have any set aims but it was the best year for me so far in my career.

“When you’re at the top level teams the intensity is always going to be higher, it was at Wigan as well. If you’re at the high level you just continue that. I want to enjoy my rugby and get a spot in the first-team, and I’ve come over here wanting to do that and crack on.

“We have a great bunch of players here and it’s really exciting to see what we can do. I’ve been training for two and a half weeks now and so far we have been putting together some great stuff on the field.”

The 25-year-old joins fellow England internationals Josh Hodgson and Elliott Whitehead at the club, as well as Ryan Sutton who also joined from Wigan. The trio have been huge in making the plunge to the NRL, said Bateman.

“Yeah it’s good. I’m still getting used to my surroundings and finding my way about though, and Elliott has been helping me out,” he added, in jovial fashion.

“I had Elliott nagging me all the time on the phone telling me to come over. Knowing Elliott and Hodgy definitely helps and I took that into consideration when thinking about the move. I think there are more English people here than there are back home.

“It’s nothing like it is back home in Bradford. For a start I don’t think I’ve seen the sun in Bradford for about four years now. When you move across the world it’s tough if you don’t know anybody, but I have them two and Sutty as well so I think that’s going to make it a lot easier.”