John Bateman would be welcomed back to Wigan if he quits NRL
Speculation over the Test forward’s future is intensifying as he assesses his options for 2021 and beyond.
Bateman would almost certainly earn much more money by remaining in Australia, where he was named Dally M backrower of the year last season.
But reports today suggest the 26-year-old is considering a move home to be closer to his daughter, Millie.
If he chose to return, the Warriors would like him on board.
They parted on good terms, he is valued as a player and when he departed there was a loose agreement in place if he returned - with a ballpoint figure of what he may earn.
But it is understood reports in Australia that the club have tabled a huge contract worth £380,000 a year are wide of the mark.
Bateman could command a marquee contract – meaning only £175,000 of his deal would count on the £2.1m salary cap.
But even with that allowance he would surely need to take a financial hit to return home. These are uncertain times for Super League clubs as they don’t know how much funding they will receive after next year.
Bateman has previously indicated he wants to stay in the NRL - preferably with the Raiders - and earn as much as he can during his career for his daughter's long-term future. His agent, Isaac Moses, is reportedly eyeing deals worth £435,000-a-season.
The Yorkshireman is under contract at Canberra until the end of 2021 but they have allowed him to gauge interest for next season, and Canterbury Bulldogs and Gold Coast Titans are among those interested in him.
England coach Shaun Wane spoke to Bateman on Monday, and suggested he would be surprised if he returned home any time soon.
“I think he has some unfinished business in the NRL,” he said. “It’ll be eating away at him that he’s not won a Grand Final there.”