Ex-Wigan Warriors star John Bateman’s move to NRL no closer following visa issues as he heads to Bradford Bulls as eagle viewer for Championship clash

FORMER Wigan Warriors star John Bateman is still in the UK, despite signing a four-year deal with NRL side Wests Tigers.

Bateman is having visa issues, but was expected to be Down Under at the end of last month only for the hold up to continue into February.

The second-rower has been brought in by Tim Sheens and co. at Wests after the Tigers and Wigan were able to strike up a deal.

Bateman was, of course, only halfway through a four-year deal at the DW Stadium so a transfer fee was involved.

Sheens had said, back in mid-January: “There have been a couple of issues with the visa, and the government [departments] in both countries shut down over Christmas, so that slowed us down [further],” Wests boss Tim Sheens told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“We’re not putting a date on when he’ll be here. We’ve got immigration people and experts trying to sort it out.

“It’s a bit unusual, but he’s also not coming on his own.

“We wouldn’t use him in the first trial, but we’d aim to have him play in the second trial. We need to get him here first.”

To play him in that second trial, Bateman would need to be in Australia by Sunday 19 February – when Wests go up against the Canberra Raiders.

However, the England international was present at his former club Bradford Bulls’ opening Championship clash against Whitehaven yesterday as he waits patiently for his visa.