Ex-Wigan Warriors star John Bateman showered with praise after huge NRL impact

John Bateman was hailed after today's NRL game - with opposition coach Nathan Brown describing him as "a super player".

Friday, 29th March 2019, 9:12 am
Updated Friday, 29th March 2019, 10:14 am

Bateman was a stand-out player for Canberra in their 17-10 win against Newcastle Knights, his third match since moving Down Under from Wigan. Ex-Warrior Ryan Sutton also played.

Knights coach Brown said: "I tried to sign John twice in my career, once at Huddersfield when he was about 16, and again at Newcastle.

"He's a super little player Johnny. What a player - for a kid his size, he's an outstanding signing for Ricky (Stuart).

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"I had no doubt at all he was going to be a good player in this competition. Don't under-estimate how tough he is for his size."

Bateman's 201 running metres were unmatched by teammates and rivals alike but the impressive statistics don't paint the full picture - and his eye-catching performance prompted the Canberra Times to run a comment piece under the headline: "Bateman carrying England's proud NRL legacy".

"Bateman has been a revelation for Canberra during his first three games in the NRL," wrote Caden Helmers. "He danced like Kalyn Ponga and brought a boisterous home crowd to life with every bone-crunching hit - and there were plenty."

Social media lit up with praise for the England second-rower.

"This John Bateman is a top player," tweeted @NBiffs, who regularly posts NRL highlights to his 6,000-plus followers.

Sydney's Daily Telegraph journalist Wilson Smith wrote: "John Bateman has a really awkward running style that makes him hard to predict... really rate it."

The Mirror's rugby league correspondent Gareth Walker posted: "John Bateman has killed it again for Canberra this morning against Newcastle - was the Raiders' top metre maker and tackler at half-time and just made a second long-range clean break to help his side kick decisive drop-goal."

Freelance journalist John Bateman wrote: "John Bateman having a blast against the Knights. Breaking tackles and offloading for fun."

Press Association journalist James O'Brien tweeted: "The Aussie commentators absolutely love John Bateman."

Broadcaster @The Gamecaller tweeted: "No surprise to see ex #BradfordBulls player John Bateman taking the #NRL by storm and rightly getting the praise. Canberra have a special special player."

Wigan allowed Bateman to leave at the end of last season after receiving a six-figure transfer fee from Canberra. Sutton also left and George Williams is expected to join them next season, with the commentators even saying "he has signed" during the match coverage.