Wigan Warriors' John Bateman reflects on his first game of the Rugby League World Cup and discusses England's start to the tournament
The 29-year-old missed the Rugby League World Cup opener against Samoa in Newcastle while serving the final game of the three-match ban he picked up at the end of the Super League season.
Bateman states the England squad feels like one big “unit” at the moment, and admits they are focused on improving further after winning their opening two fixtures.
He said: “It feels like a while since I last played, so it was good to get back out there and be with the boys.
“It was good to watch them get the win over Samoa last week, but obviously you always want to be involved.
“Everyone is feeling good, everyone is enjoying the camp, and as you can see everyone is playing good rugby, which is what it is all about.
“We just take each game at a time.
“You always want to improve, but we’ve got four points. It’s all about winning and that is what we’ve been doing in the last two games.
“We probably had contrasting moments in both halves against France, but we will learn from that.
“Hopefully we get better as the tournament goes on and improve more.
“It’s good in the squad getting to know different people. It’s all about coming together and being one unit.”
Bateman says he is pleased to see the fans getting behind the team, with an attendance of 23,648 inside the home of Bolton Wanderers on Saturday.
“Continuing on from last week, stuff like walking into the stadium before the game, seeing the crowd there, and having them pack it out is great,” he added.
“Hopefully next week we can get more. We want to build more momentum behind us, and that is what this World Cup is about.
“England has got the best fans in the world when they get behind you. It’s fantastic when everyone is part of it for football in this country, and that’s what we want too.”
Shaun Wane’s side face Greece on Saturday afternoon at Bramall Lane in their next World Cup game (K.O. 2.30pm).