John Bateman talks Wigan return, family reunion and his struggles during lockdown
John Bateman has opened up about his struggles during lockdown, admitting he was “all over the place”.
The coronavirus pandemic prevented the Wigan-bound forward’s family from visiting him in Canberra.
And that misery was compounded when he discovered he would need a second shoulder operation which left him fearing his career may be over.
Bateman, though, made a full recovery and has played five matches for the Green Machine as they charge towards the play-offs. “It was one of the toughest times of my career,” he told Canberra’s ‘Behind the Limelight’ podcast.
“Covid came, then I had to train from home and it was a downward spiral - and then I had to have another shoulder op. It really got to me, to be fair.
“I didn’t know if my shoulder was going to get better.
"My head went, I didn’t know what to do. I was all over the place, I wanted to see my family - they were due to come over as well at the time, so I was upset I wouldn’t see them. I had times at home, getting upset about it... I’m just looking forward to seeing my little girl, my mum, my brother.
"A couple of months ago I couldn’t talk about them without getting worried, you start thinking the worst.
“It’s easy to say when you’ve come out the other side, but you have to take it day by day and go from there, it helps massively.”
Bateman, a World Club Challenge and two-time Grand Final winner with Wigan, cut short his Canberra contract to sign a marquee deal with the Warriors from 2021.
“When the deal came about with Wigan - we had to go a bit of back and forth - but when it suited me I ended up signing,” he said.
“I’m really close to my family, I’ll look after them first and that played a big part in my decision.”
He hopes he can bow out of Canberra the same way he left Wigan in ‘18 - with a Grand Final triumph.
And he admits he has watched last year’s title-deciding defeat to the Sydney Roosters to feed his motivation. The 26-year-old added: “There’s no other way I want to finish that with a winner’s medal.”