Bateman rushes down under after early recovery

John Bateman has been named to return from a surgically repaired cheekbone in Canberra Raiders’ game tomorrow against Canterbury Bulldogs.

Bateman had been recovering from the injury in the UK but was ready to play quicker than anticipated.

“Johnny rang me from England after the game on Sunday night and said ‘I’ll be right to play’,” Raiders Head Coach Ricky Stuart said.

“He’s a really good team man and sees we’re struggling in terms of depth and I didn’t think much of it to be quite honest.

“Fortunately for us, he’s cleared to play. He’s been a really big boost to the club ever since he got here, his energy and enthusiasm around the team and around training, it’s a great lift to the guys.

“It takes a special sort of person to inspire people and he does that, so it’s a good bit of energy for us today.”

The Raiders are without key men for this week’s game with three players, Josh Papalii, Nick Cotric and Jack Wighton, called into the Origin squad for Game I on Wednesday meaning Bateman will start his first game back rather than come from the bench.