Wigan Warriors’ John Bateman: We’re treating this like Origin

John Bateman, Sam Tomkins and Oliver Gildart in training in Manchester yesterday. Picture: SWPix
John Bateman, Sam Tomkins and Oliver Gildart in training in Manchester yesterday. Picture: SWPix

John Bateman says England will head into Sunday’s Test with a “State of Origin” mentality.

Their opening Test 18-16 win has put the pressure firmly on Michael Maguire’s New Zealand as they look to keep their hopes alive.

England, by contrast, have a safety net of knowing defeat will send the series into the final match at Leeds’ Elland Road next weekend.

But Bateman says they will treat the game at Anfield as sudden-death, adopting the same approach as Queensland and New South Wales in Australia’s hugely-popular Origin series.

“It won’t be any different from last week,” said Bateman. “Wayne Bennett has spoken to us and said it’s like Origin.

“We’ll go out there and treat it like the first game, we can’t feel because we’re 1-0 everything’s sweet, we’re treating this as if it’s must-win.

“It’s a Test match, it’s about who wants it more.”

Bateman has become a regular face in the England side under Bennett’s watch.

But he figured mainly out-of-position at centre, and he enjoyed his spell in his familiar second-row spot during their win at Hull’s KCOM Stadium last week.

“It’s good to play in the back-row,” he said.

“I’m playing for my country and at the end of the day I’ll play anywhere, but back-row is the position I feel most comfortable in.”

He showed his capabilities, feeding Oliver Gildart with a sweet pass for his match-winning try.

“I’ve seen him do that before, he did it against St Helens earlier this year, and that was a good feeling when he went over,” said the Canberra-bound forward. “It’s good for him to get that game under his belt, he’ll be better for it.”

Bateman, 25, will have his family at Anfield on Sunday and, for one of them, the afternoon will be particularly exciting.

He explained: “I’m a Man United fan, but I only started supporting them because my brother is a Liverpool fan – I did it mainly to annoy him!

“He gets over to a few games at Liverpool during the season and so for him to go to Anfield and see me play, it’s great.”

And he hopes fans turn out in force to smash the RFL’s prediction of a 25,000-plus attendance at a venue which holds twice that many.

“Personally I don’t know why you wouldn’t want to go,” added Bateman.

“There are two fantastic teams, both desperate to win, at a great stadium – if you’re a fan, just get a long because it does make a difference when we’ve got that support.”