Revealed: How Wigan Warriors' John Bateman won ban appeal

John Bateman had his one-game ban overturned after successful arguing his "give your head a shake" comment was aimed at a St Helens player - and not the referee.

Thursday, 26th August 2021, 7:54 am
Updated Thursday, 26th August 2021, 7:56 am
John Bateman

The Wigan forward was sinbinned, for the second time in the match, during Friday's 26-2 loss to Saints for dissent.

He was subsequently issued with a Grade A charge by the RFL's match review panel and issued with an automatic one-game ban.

But having pleaded not guilty, Bateman successful had the charge thrown out when he appeared in front of the RFL's disciplinary panel (Operational Rules Tribunal) on Tuesday evening.

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Minutes from the meeting now reveal Bateman, and official Chris Kendall, were in agreement that a comment - similar to "give your head a ****ing shake" - was said.

But Wigan assistant coach John Winder explained the remark was directed at Saints forward Louis McCarthy-Scarsbrook rather than the official.

Winder felt that footage showed that the referee did not have a direct line of sight of the player and that Bateman's eyes were fixed on the opponent to whom he was directing the comments.

Winder also felt the reaction of the opponent, following the sin-binning, supported their case. Bateman told the panel he respected officials and felt he had a good relationship with them, including Kendall, and said he made the comment to McCarthy-Scarsbrook feeling the Saints forward was targeting a younger teammate. He admitted that he shouldn’t speak like that but was frustrated.

Kendall believed strongly that those words were directed at him and said that had he any doubts, he would not have sin-binned Bateman. The panel felt that Kendall did strongly believe that the comments were directed at him at a time when he was dealing with a fracas involving a number of players.

In finding Bateman not guilty, the panel "felt the on viewing the footage it can be inferred that John Bateman said something to which LMS reacted by smiling and then laughing before the referee sin-binned John Bateman. It is the panel’s view that LMS was directly behind the referee, and it is very easy to understand how the referee took the comments as being aimed at himself.

"The referee accepted that he had a side on view such that John Bateman was in his peripheral vision when hearing these words spoken."

Their decision allowed Bateman to play against Leeds last night, with Wigan going down 14-0.