Bateman heading back to Wigan Warriors

John Bateman will be back in Super League next year after signing a long-term deal to rejoin Wigan Warriors.

The England international departed Wigan after helping them to Grand Final glory over Warrington Wolves in 2018, opting to continue his career in the NRL as he moved to Canberra Raiders.

Bateman impressed in his debut season Down Under too, becoming a key part of a Raiders squad that lost to Sydney Roosters in the Grand Final as he was named Dally M Second Rower of the Year.

A shoulder injury has prevented him from playing so far this season and Canberra recently confirmed they had agreed to release the 26-year-old from the final year of his contract.

While linked with Canterbury Bulldogs, Bateman is instead heading back to his homeland in 2021. Wigan confirmed his return on Friday, the forward signing a four-year deal with a further option for a fifth season.

"I'm very happy to be returning to Wigan on a long-term contract," Bateman said. 

"On a personal level, some of the best times of my life have been in a Wigan shirt and I can't wait to return, to play and make some more memories. 

"It's been a tough decision but to be back to Wigan, to be at home with my little girl, my mum and the rest of my family is something I can't wait to experience once again.

"I still have plenty of unfinished business with the Raiders and my focus now is to get myself back on the pitch as soon as possible and put myself in the frame for selection."

Wigan had first refusal on Bateman if he decided to move back to Super League - an option they were delighted to take up to secure "one of the best players in the world", according to executive director Kris Radlinski.

"Wigan are thrilled to be bringing John back to the DW Stadium," Radlinski said.

"John is one of the best players in the world. He has the respect of players and coaches in both hemispheres and is a natural born competitor and leader.

"We've been extremely proud to see him take the NRL by storm in 2019 and we've always looked forward to welcoming him back to Wigan when the opportunity presented itself.

"We had an agreement with him that, should he come back to Super League, then we would have first option on him. As he's entering the prime years of his playing career, I think it's a real coup for Super League to have a player of his calibre return to the competition."

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