Wigan Warriors: John Bateman delighted to be in the thick of the action for England in the victory against the Combined Nations All Stars

John Bateman says he was pleased with his personal display in England’s victory against the Combined Nations All Stars.
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The 28-year-old put in a man of the match performance in the 18-4 win at the Halliwell Jones Stadium.

Bateman jokes he’ll be heading back to Wigan Warriors wanting to discuss his position, after starting the game at loose forward.

“I enjoyed it,” he added.

John Bateman celebrates with Jake Wardle at full timeJohn Bateman celebrates with Jake Wardle at full time
John Bateman celebrates with Jake Wardle at full time
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“It was a bit different playing in the middle and not being stuck on one side. You’re touching the ball a lot more and getting involved, and I enjoy that side of the game, being in the thick of it.

“I’ll have a word with Matty (Peet) and see what he says (about my position). There were a couple of years where I tried it back and forth, and it probably wasn’t the time to do it, but I feel like I’ve matured a bit as a player and understand the game a lot more.

“There are still obviously places to improve but I enjoyed it.

“I had Mickey (Michael McIlorum) alongside me, my old pal, so I look forward to playing with him more.

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“It’s been a good month or so for me. I’m really enjoying my rugby.”

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Bateman says the England squad have enjoyed a good camp, which he believes will be important for the World Cup.

“It’s a good feeling,” he added.

“It’s probably not just been the match, it’s been the week that we have had. It’s been pretty chilled and relaxed, but we’ve gone out there and put in a performance, and that’s what it is all about.

“It was a lot different from last year, because Covid made it a little bit harder then. We’ve all got to know each other this time round, it’s been really good.

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“Week in, week out we try to take each other’s heads off, but when you go into camp it’s about getting that bond together. We can all play rugby, but it’s about enjoying being around each other.

“I feel like we’ve done that. The game wasn’t perfect, but we got the result that we wanted.

“I don’t really get people that say it’s a pointless match, it does my head in if I’m being honest. For me it’s about building because we’ve got a massive tournament at the end of the year.

“It’s all about getting behind each other and going out there as a team and performing. Weeks like this are massive, and we can now improve on it.

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“We’ve still got plenty to work on individually and as a team.”

Bateman also enjoyed playing alongside his former Wigan teammate George Williams, and states the criticism of him this season has been unfair.

“It’s good to play with him,” he stated.

“He’s had a tough year, but there’s been a load of b******* about him, I think he’s one of the best players on his day.

“It’s hard sometimes when your team isn't winning, but for me he’s the best out there. He’s a player I’d have by my side any day of the week.

“This will get his confidence up. Obviously I hope they don’t go back and win too many games, but I hope he plays well.”