Bateman: We want to be best in the world

John Bateman in action against New Zealand
John Bateman in action against New Zealand

JOHN Bateman insists England’s rugby league heroes are not content with merely edging out New Zealand during an enthralling Test series.

The Warriors star says the squad will only be happy when they have toppled the Kiwis as the world’s No.1 side.

If people want to write us off then let people do that

John Bateman

A hard-fought 20-14 victory at the DW Stadium on Saturday sealed a 2-1 series win for Steve McNamara’s men.

It also helped make up for a couple of agonising losses to the Kiwis in last season’s Four Nations and the 2013 World Cup.

Questions were asked after England’s disappointing showing in the second Test, which they lost 9-2 at the Olympic Stadium.

But the squad answered the critics in emphatic style to give the game in this country a real shot in the arm.

“If people want to write us off then let people do that,” said Bateman.

“We know in our camp we have the squad and the coaches to do it.

“We want to be the best in the world.

“It takes time, but we’ll be fighting to be up there.

“And I think the squad we’ve got now is very good.

“This is a big step towards it.

“You’ve got to beat the best to be the best – and New Zealand are the best in the world at the moment.

“As people say, you can only play what’s in front of you and we beat them, so that’s that.”

After tasting defeat in the Grand Final with Wigan - a second successive Old Trafford loss – it was the perfect way for Bateman to end a hugely-consistent campaign on a personal note.

And he is hoping this is just the start of a golden era for a national team that has lived in the shadows of New Zealand and Australia for far too long.

“To win something in my first year with England, it’s one of the best feelings I’ve ever had,” he added.

“All the lads are buzzing.

“The last thing we won something was the last time we played New Zealand (2007), so I think we need to kick on.

“If you look at the squads, their squad had 200-odd (combined) caps and ours only had 100-odd.

“We’ve got so many young players, and I think things are looking really good for the future now.”