Family concerns draw Bateman back

John Bateman has opened up on how family was the catalyst for his Wigan return.

After just two years, the forward is returning to England after signing a four-year deal with the Warriors from 2021.

He returns as a marquee player after turning down big offers in the NRL to return home.

Wigan’s recapture of Bateman is nothing short of a huge coup, both for the club and Super League.

In his maiden NRL season he played in the NRL Grand Final with Canberra and was named in the Dally M Team of the Year, quickly establishing himself as one of the world’s best players.

Now he is on his way back and, after the news was revealed through a touching video with his family on social media, Bateman revealed how being closer to his family prompted his decision to return.

“Home is home, it always will be, and my family played a huge part in my decision to come back,” he said.

“My daughter Millie is 10 now and I can’t wait to have her back in my arms and to be able to see her every day; my grandparents aren’t getting any younger so I want to be around them and my mum’s gone above and beyond all her life to give me and my brother everything she could in our lives.

“So I can’t wait to be back home with them all.

“Wigan fans I will see you all very soon. I can’t wait to be back running out in front of you all at the DW.”

He continued: “I am coming back with loads more experience than when I left and I feel like I’m in the prime of my career.”

News of Bateman’s return will only add further questions about the future of Jackson Hastings.

The halfback is one of Wigan’s two current marquee players but has been heavily linked with a move away from the club next season.

With Bateman incoming, Hastings’ future seems in more doubt than ever. The reigning Man of Steel has a clause in his contract that can see him leave at the end of the season and League Express understands his agent, Sam Ayoub has been in contact with some Super League clubs about the halfback ahead of next season.

But an NRL move, or even a cross-code switch, seems more likely.

League Express revealed several weeks ago New Zealand Warriors had tabled an offer to the 24-year-old, while Canterbury were also keen, a story that has now been reported in Australia too.

Hastings brushed off the speculation at the time but admitted his future may be away from Wigan last week.

“When I know what I’m doing you’ll all know too,” he tweeted.

“At this moment in time, all my focus is on getting right for the 2020 season restart! So no need to tag me in every article you see. I’ll be straight up.”