Bateman keen to avoid centre role

Wigan and England star John Bateman has revealed he is desperate to play in the second-row next year, rather than at centre.

Bateman, 22, was one of Wigan’s star performers last year, a season in which he played three months of the season in his unpreferred role in the outside backs. He was then selected in the same position for England’s triumphant international Test series victory over New Zealand.

But despite earning plenty of plaudits and nailing down an international jersey at centre, his preference is to return to his natural second-row spot.

“It was good, really good, you are playing for your country aren’t you?” Bateman said.

“Obviously at the back end of the season, playing in the centre in a Grand Final, I did enjoy it. You don’t have to do as much work, do you?

“But I’m not a centre, well hopefully not. If I fill in there again this year, I’ll fill in, but I want to play in the pack this year, front, middle or back row.

“At Wigan you’ve got to be at your best to get in. Obviously you’ve got me, Faz, Joel and Lockers, four people who would fit in any team. That’s one of the best things about it, we’ve all got to make sure we’re at the top of our game.”

In an attempt to secure himself a place in the back-row. Bateman has been bulking up for the new season.

“I’ve been doing some extra weight sessions and stuff like that with (conditioner) Mark Bitcon, ” he said.

“He’s got a training programme for me. It’s going really well in pre-season.

“It’s just one of those things. You just have to train as hard as possible and obviously eat the right stuff. You can’t really be going to McDonald’s to try and put weight on because you won’t be able to move on the pitch. It will eventually come. I think I am gradually getting there.”