Club fumes as World Cup star signs with rival

    Glamour English club Wigan has expressed its displeasure with star forward John Bateman after reluctantly releasing him to join Wests Tigers on a long-term deal.

    The Warriors put out a press release in which they clearly stated they were desperate to keep the talented forward and only let him go after repeated requests.

    The release said, “The club first heard murmurings that John Bateman wanted to leave in July. After speaking to John, his agent and the club in question, we made it clear that we wanted John to remain at Wigan and the matter was closed.

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    “During the World Cup campaign, John let the club know of his desire to go back to the NRL. He asked to get the World Cup out of the way first, and then pick up discussions.

    “With our desire to help England to do well in the tournament, we agreed to wait. After the tournament, John went on holiday and expressed his uncertainty regarding his future and requested time again to sort out in his own mind what he wanted to do.

    “On Wednesday 14th of December, John informed us of his decision that he wants to try the NRL one more time. It has been somewhat of a frustrating period but the club now accepts that it is in everyone’s best interests that John is allowed a transfer from Wigan.

    “In situations like this, there are obvious consequences. The uncertainty surrounding John’s future means that we have had to delay the squad numbers. The squad numbers have now been signed off and will be communicated between Christmas and New Year.

    “Secondly, there will be no immediate replacement for John as players have their contracts agreed with their clubs.”

    The Tigers meanwhile, are delighted with yet another marquee signing.

    “He’s a world class player with an enormous work ethic,” said coach Tim Sheens.

    “He’s the type of player who leads by example. I have no doubt John will make a big contribution to this club over the next few years.”

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