Canberra say the delay in announcing John Bateman’s capture was to allow Wigan to “let their supporterts know of his departure”.
The Warriors yesterday announced he would be leaving at the end of this season to move to the NRL - ending one of rugby league’s worst-kept secrets, given the move which was touted in May.
Canberra followed that up with a statement over night confirming he will be their player next season.
A statement on Canberra’s website said: “The Raiders have been in negotiations with Bateman for several months, but have held back on announcing his deal so his current club Wigan had the opportunity to let their supporters know of his departure.”
Canberra did not reference the “significant” transfer fee paid to release Bateman from the final year of his contract with Wigan, who have already signed him up as a marquee player for when he returns to Super League two or three years after his NRL move.
Raiders’ recruitment and high-performance director Peter Mulholland said: “John is a wonderful talent who has the ability and skill set to play a number of positions.
“We’ve already seen the success of both Elliott Whitehead and Josh Hodgson transitioning from the Super League to the NRL and we see John as being a player who can make a similar impact in this competition.
“At 24, he’s got the perfect mix of experience and youth and we’re really looking forward to seeing him in green in 2019.”
Wigan prop Ryan Sutton is also moving to Canberra.