‘At centre it’s about decision-making... in the middle you run out and hit people!’

John Bateman facing Leeds last Thursday
John Bateman facing Leeds last Thursday

John Bateman is hoping to ease 35 days of hurt when Wigan face Warrington tonight.

The Warriors were nilled in their last meeting, which tumbled them out of the Challenge Cup.

And Bateman says the chance to make amends will be a motivating factor when they run out at the DW Stadium.

“They really gave it to us last time,” he said. “It really hurt us.

“It was one of the most important games of the season and we didn’t step up.

“It wasn’t so much the nilling that hurt as the fashion of the performance, we didn’t give ourselves a chance.”

A glance at the squads presents intriguing match-ups across the sides - including Josh Charnley’s wing duel with Liam Marshall.

And Bateman has highlighted the clashes up front as being critical to their chances.

“With Warrington, even with a new coach, one of their main threats is the quick play-the-ball,” he said.

“So trying to get a grip of that and controlling the big men is important.”

Chris Hill provides much of Warrington’s go-forward, with fellow Wiganer Stefan Ratchford adding the attacking finesse.

Bateman knows both of them well, having been England team-mates with them just three weeks ago in the Denver Test against New Zealand.

“I’m close to both Stef and Hilly so it is a bit weird facing them,” he said. “You realise more about how they play, their style of play - I probably know what to expect from them.

“I said to Stef after the Test it was one of the best games I’d seen him play for England, and it’s good to see him doing well this season.”

With Dan Sarginson still sidelined with a knee problem, Bateman is expected to continue in the right centre berth - a role he is getting more accustomed to, even though he favours a role in the forwards.

“You don’t do as much tackling at centre but it’s about the decision-making, because if you get it wrong they probably end up scoring,” he said. “In the middle, you run out there and hit people!”

Wigan head into the match with their confidence swelled by their 36-8 win against Leeds in their last outing, which saw them return to the DW after a seven week spell on the road.

“We looked sharp in attack and we strung it together against Leeds,” added the 24-year-old. “We’ve said, ‘Let’s not forget where we are and how good we can be’.”