Bateman’s on board for 2014

Bradford's John Bateman goes over to score a try

Bradford's John Bateman goes over to score a try

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WIGAN have paid a transfer fee to recruit Bradford’s highly rated forward John Bateman.

Wigan are thought to have beaten off competition from Huddersfield and Salford to land the ex-England Academy skipper on a three-year deal.

Rugby manager Kris Radlinski spoke of Bateman’s “burning desire” to succeed, admitting he was a longer-term project.

The 20-year-old could shape up as Harrison Hansen’s long-term successor.

Shaun Wane said: “He is a player I rate very highly. As he matures with us, he will be a good asset in our quest to continually challenge for honours.”

Wane lost forwards Chris Tuson (Hull FC), Lee Mossop (Parramatta) and Paul Prescott (retirement) from last year’s squad.

A question mark lingers over prop Epa Lauaki’s future as well.

Wane has bolstered his pack with the capture of Sam Hopkins, Tony Clubb, Eddy Pettybourne and Andy Powell, and Bateman will strengthen competition and cover.