Bateman’s NRL switch: How other Wigan players did Down Under

John Bateman in his most recent Wigan match, against Catalans
John Bateman in his most recent Wigan match, against Catalans
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John Bateman has joined Ryan Sutton is confirming a move Down Under next year. Here is how other players have fared when they have left Wigan to try their hand in the NRL...

Dan Sarginson - The England centre ended his three years at Wigan with victory in the 2016 Grand Final and moved to Gold Coast Titans on a two-year deal.

Sam Tomkins in NZ Warriors action

Sam Tomkins in NZ Warriors action

But he had an injury-plagued debut campaign, making just six appearances, and at the end of his first season new coach Garth Brennan agreed to release him to allow him to re-join Wigan.

Joe Burgess - The winger left his hometown club after the 2015 Grand Final to join Sydney Roosters. He played four NRL matches and, after agreeing a return to Wigan for 2017, he was released to spend the rest of the season with Michael Maguire’s South Sydney Rabbitohs where he enjoyed more personal success.

Sam Tomkins - The former Steve Prescott Man of Steel moved to New Zealand Warriors in a world-record transfer after the 2013 double-winning campaign.

Opinion varies on how well he did Down Under. Certainly, he did not replicate the sparkling form he showed before his move, but he was in a poor Warriors side and then hampered by injury in his second, and final, year before he cut short his deal to return home as Super League’s first marquee player.

Lee Mossop - Parramatta paid a transfer fee to secure the Cumbrian prop’s services at the end of 2013 (Gareth Hock also agreed a move to the Eels, but later made a U-turn). Mossop’s sole season in the NRL was bookended by serious shoulder injuries, limiting him to just three matches before he cut short his stay to return to Wigan. He later moved on to Salford.

Matty Russell - The fleet-footed winger only figured three times for his hometown club in 2011-12 before deciding to test himself in the NRL. He signed for Gold Coast Titans but didn’t play in the first-team, and after a successful 2013 World Cup with Scotland, returned to Super League with Warrington.

Brian Carney - It has long been said that Super League-produced forwards have more success in the NRL than outside backs, but Carney was an exception when he left Wigan at the end of 2005. He was the Dally M winger of the year at the end of his one season at Newcastle. In an unusual move, he agreed to join the Knights for one year until Gold Coast Titans joined the NRL in 2007, but he departed the Queensland club without playing a game and went on to play rugby union in Ireland and then joined Warrington.