Bateman relishing “do-or-die environment” on play-off bow

Wigan star John Bateman says he’s chomping at the bit as he gears up for his first ever play-off match against Huddersfield tonight.

The 21-year-old never played a post-season game during his time with hometown club Bradford and told League Express that the high intensity of the competition can bring the best out of him.

“I’m looking forward to it. I’m really excited to see what it’s all about after watching it for so long on TV,” he said.

“You grow up wanting to play in big games and wanting to experience the thrill and the buzz of the play-offs.

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“Playing in a game with so much at stake will be great for my career, because I’ve never managed to play in it before.

“The do-or-die environment is something I’m really looking forward to – you can’t afford to leave anything out there and I can’t wait to get stuck into it.”

If Wigan do successfully retain their Super League crown next month, Bateman has identified their shock defeat to Widnes in late August as a defining moment in their season. The Warriors haven’t lost since that loss, and Bateman says it has helped them to set their sights on the Grand Final with real intensity.

“We dropped a point against Hull KR in the game before that, but that Widnes game could really be the one that turns out to be pivotal for our season,” he added.

“We all know that we want to succeed this season, and that Widnes defeat was a real wake-up call, and it helped to train our focus on achieving success in the Grand Final.”