Wigan Warriors' John Bateman "heartbroken" by pal's death as he plans more tributes

A “heartbroken” John Bateman plans to pay tribute to a tragic close friend during the rest of Wigan’s campaign.

Thursday, 19th August 2021, 5:37 pm
John Bateman

The Warriors forward’s close friend, dad-of-three Matthew Keenan, died from Covid-19 last month.

Bateman credits the 34-year-old for helping him when he was a youngster in his home city of Bradford, and has put a special embroidered shirt up for auction to raise money for his family.

The leading bid was more than £1,000 with four days left on the ebay website hereBateman said: “He’s a big loss, it was one of those things – three little kids have lost their dad, we’ve all lost a mate.

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“I’ll be writing him on my wrist throughout the year because he looked after me quite well when I was younger.

“I’m heartbroken if I’m honest with you.”

News of Keenan’s death was brought to prominence after Dr Leanne Cheyne shared a photo of him on a ventilator at BRI, admitted with Covid-19 after being a self-confessed vaccine sceptic. He had told her he wished he “could turn back time” and get a vaccine.

Bateman is back in the Wigan side for tomorow's derby after sitting out last week due to sickness. He admits his form hasn’t hit the same levels he showed before he left Wigan for Canberra at the end of 2018, not helped by injury on England duty in the summer.

But coach Adrian Lam said: “The week before this he was probably the best player on the field back from injury, that showed he’s heading in the right direction.

“I can imagine what he’ll bring in the next couple of weeks. I’m excited to see him take the next step up.”

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