Mal Meninga hails ex-Wigan Warriors ace John Bateman 'one of NRL's stand-out players'

John Bateman has been an instant hit in the NRL
John Bateman has been an instant hit in the NRL

John Bateman has been anointed one of the NRL's three best players so far - by Australia coach Mal Meninga.

The Kangaroos legend picked the ex-Warriors forward, alongside Luke Keary as James Tedesco, as the players who have impressed him the most after three rounds.

Meninga praises Bateman's fitness, work-rate and ability to break the line.

"To be able to take the NRL by the scruff of the neck and impress people so early on, also proves to me that the English players are all so strong and talented," Meninga wrote in his column for NRL.com.

"He is such a competitor, never gives up on plays, always runs hard, always seems to get across the line. He’s one of those players who can continually break a line and score points by coming up with big plays at the right time. And he’s a very robust defender."