Bateman: What beating Saints means to me

John Bateman in action last week
John Bateman in action last week
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John Bateman will be on Cloud Nine if Wigan win today – and not because it will stretch the club’s run!

The Warriors have had the bragging rights for the past eight Good Friday derbies.

Bateman, expected to again line-up at centre, hopes to extend that run but says it won’t provide any extra motivation.

He said: “With me, I don’t look at things like that because there’s always a stat you want to beat or change.

“I just think this is St Helens, I want to beat them!

“Whether it’s by one or 50 points, I want to beat them, I want the bragging rights.”

Born and raised in Yorkshire, it hasn’t taken Bateman long to understand the Wigan-Saints rivalry.

“I love it,” he said. “I walk around this town and so many people talk to me about it – and half of them can’t even say the words, ‘St Helens’!

“I know how much it means to them.

“I’ve been looking forward to this game for the last couple of weeks. You don’t want to be thinking about it when you have other games to play, but once Huddersfield was out the way (last Friday), I thought, ‘It’s on now’.

Obviously I’ve played in a few, I’m not from Wigan, but I’ll probably say it’s one of the most exciting games that you can be a part of over the year.” Wigan have won their last three games and their 48-10 victory against Huddersfield last Friday was described by Shaun Wane as one of their most complete performances in a long time.

“We know Huddersfield are a bit busted but we’ve got a few players hitting their strides, and that’s why this derby should be good,” said Bateman.

“There are one-on-one battles that we’re looking forward to.

“Saints are playing well, fair play, they’ve only lost one – but we have, too. The commentators are talking Saints up which is good, you take it on board and you want to prove them wrong.”

Prop Ryan Sutton has been weaned on this derby rivalry and is looking forward to locking horns with Saints prop Luke Thompson, who he has faced since their junior days.

“I’ve come across Luke over the year, he’s always been a good player and always been a physical player, and he’s showing it this year as well,” said Sutton.

“It’s always good to play against someone who you’ve played against coming up through your amateur clubs.

“It’s definitely going to be a good game.”