Wigan Warriors may face Canberra Raiders in 2020... even if it's not in the World Club Challenge

Could Ryan Sutton play against hometown club Wigan next year?
Could Ryan Sutton play against hometown club Wigan next year?

Canberra may take on Wigan early next year - even if both sides fail to win the Grand Final.

The Raiders - with John Bateman in their ranks - face Sydney Roosters in Sunday's NRL Grand Final.

If they win, they intend to travel to the UK to face the Super League champions in the World Club Challenge, which would see them tackle the Warriors if Adrian Lam's outfit were victorious at Old Trafford.

But if both sides come up short, Canberra may travel to the UK to face Wigan in a pre-season match, according to a report on the NRL's website.

"Should they lose to the Roosters in the grand final, the Raiders are considering a pre-season match against Wigan," reports NRL.com. "Canberra chief executive Don Furner said the Raiders could not finalise details of their planned English foray until after the NRL and Super League grand finals."

The trip is part of a plan to tap into the English fans' interest in Canberra with a membership scheme. Ricky Stuart has four English players on board - Bateman is joined by Ryan Sutton, Elliott Whitehead and Josh Hodgson - with George Williams also joining next year.

Meanwhile, Bateman has been bedridden with a virus in the lead-up to Sunday's showdown with the Roosters.

Bateman was crowned the Dally M second-rower of the year at Wednesday's ceremony at Sydney's Hordern Pavilion but was taken ill before Thursday's training run.

The Englishman is expected to return for Saturday's captain's run.

"We try to quarantine the Poms as much as we can," joked Stuart, adding that Bateman was rested from training "just to get him healthy".