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".
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.
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).
"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."
Stuart said: "He's very influential around the group regarding their toughness and competitiveness to win. I don't want to show bias but I love the four Pommies I've got because they're footie players. Some have to win, some try."
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."
Former GB stand-off Leon Pryce said: "Great win for @RaidersCanberra @johnbateman1 got to be one of the best in the NRL already. Absolute machine.
Freelance journalist John Davidson 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.
Ex-Warrior Ryan Sutton also started at loose-forward, and caught the eye. During his 49 minutes on the field he made 11 runs, 93 metres, three tackle breaks and 34 tackles.