Confirmed: Tigers land English superstar

    News Corp reported last week the deal was in its final stages as the Tigers and Wigan sorted out a transfer fee for the 29-year-old.“He’s a world class player with an enormous work ethic,” said Tigers coach 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.”The Bateman deal continues an impressive signing spree from the Tigers after they landed David Klemmer, Isaiah Papali’i, Api Koroisau and Charlie Staines.Bateman is looking forward to joining a new-look Tigers side “I can’t wait to begin a new chapter at a club that I know is going places,” Bateman said.“There has been a lot of change at Wests Tigers over the past few months and everything I hear is positive.“I want to be a part of the rebuild at the club and I’m really excited to be coming back to the NRL.”TIGERS CLOSE IN ON KEY SIGNINGBy Brent ReadThe Wests Tigers are closing in on the signature of English forward John Bateman as they enter the final stages of negotiations with Super League giants Wigan.News Corp understands that the Tigers are expected to confirm the signing of Bateman on a long term deal in coming days continuing their remarkable metamorphosis under coach Tim Sheens.Bateman starred in the NRL for Canberra before returning to England at the end of 2020. He is set to return to Australia next season in a Tigers forward pack bolstered by the additions of David Klemmer, Isaiah Papali’i and API Koroisau.The Tigers are also in the mix for Parramatta halfback Mitchell Moses and Penrith centre Steve Crichton, although they face stiff competition from Canterbury for both players.Bateman shapes as a significant addition for the Tigers, having recently been part of the England side at the World Cup. He is expected to link with the Tigers in the new year, once the club has formalised an agreement with Wigan.News Corp understands that the Tigers will pay a transfer fee to free Bateman from his Wigan contract. He is then expected to sign a deal with the Tigers for as long as four years in a sign of his belief that the club is on rise under Sheens and assistants Benji Marshall, Robbie Farah and David Furner.The length of the deal suggests Marshall was heavily involved in the decision – he is due to take over from Sheens at the end of the 2024 season. In the meantime, Bateman’s arrival will provide the Tigers with more ammunition in the forwards as they look to lift themselves off the bottom of the ladder.NRL RIVALS CIRCLING SHARKS STAR—Dean RitchieCronulla has lodged a contract extension for centre Jesse Ramien but rival clubs, and possibly one rugby league legend, are preparing to circle.Sharks management have been in talks with Ramien’s manager, Warwick Wright, with an offer spanning two or three years having been formally tabled.The Daily Telegraph has been told Wests Tigers and possibly the Dolphins have an interest in Ramien.When contacted for confirmation, Wests Tigers chief executive Justin Pascoe only said: “We don’t talk about player recruitment speculation.“Our focus right now is preparing the squad as best we can for the 2023 season.”One well-placed source claimed Wests Tigers coach-in-waiting, Benji Marshall, is a big fan of Ramien, who comes off contract at Cronulla after next season.Wests Tigers, according to one rival NRL coach, would be chasing a quality centre although the club recently retained Brent Naden.Cronulla officials aren’t remotely surprised Ramien has attracted interest from other NRL clubs.The Sharks haven’t been told about any interest for Ramien from Wests Tigers.Rival clubs will have to find something special to extract Ramien from the Shire.The Sharks want to retain Ramien and the player has indicated a desire to re-sign.Talks have been prolonged due to the NRL’s inability to settle upon an ongoing salary cap.Cronulla management fear the only way Ramien, 25, would leave was through a massive offer from a rival club.One source close to Cronulla claimed talks with Ramien – who lives in the Shire – had been “positive.”The Sharks feel Ramien wants to be part of a Cronulla club growing rapidly under head coach Craig Fitzgibbon.Cronulla has already re-signed Siosifa Talakai and Ronaldo Mulitalo and are now wanting to lock down Ramien and Sione Katoa.“Jesse is a good centre off contract so he will certainly have some interest,” said one NRL coach.Wright is also the manager of Rabbitohs champion Latrell Mitchell, who signed a new long-term deal with South Sydney this week.Given he is off contract after next season, Ramien is free to receive offers from rival clubs.MISSING PIECE FOR SOUTH SYDNEY’S ‘BIG THREE’The contracts have been signed, an announcement made and their futures finally settled.Now for that elusive premiership.Star players Latrell Mitchell and Cody Walker signed new deals with South Sydney on Wednesday before vowing to help end five years of heartache at Redfern.The frustrated Rabbitohs are becoming increasingly desperate for a title after reaching four preliminary finals and a grand final over the past five years.All have ended in tears.Mitchell signed a new three-year contract until the end of 2027 while Walker agreed to a deal ending after 2025. Hooker Damien Cook signed a contract extension on Friday.While Souths have been ever-so-close to winning premiership number 22 over the past five years, that last yet vital step has proven too difficult.With Walker aged 32, he and Mitchell realise time is slowly but surely running out for the pair to win a premiership together.“I’m all-in on bringing the trophy back to the Rabbitohs. I’ve had that feeling elsewhere and I want to bring that feeling here to South Sydney,” Mitchell said.“Today we (he and Walker) mark another journey for the next few years to create something special. We both want to win premiership here and we both want to bring the trophy home.“I’m definitely grateful to be able to set my future in concrete here. The future is bright and I have set some goals that I want to achieve.”Asked if a premiership was his priority, Mitchell said: “Yep, definitely. It’s why we play footy. I’m so excited about what we can all achieve together in the coming years.”Walker is chasing a grand final victory with his great mate.“We both want to win premierships and that’s what we’re aiming to do,” Walker said.“I am very proud of the guys over the past five years – to be in five straight prelims – but we haven’t got the job done and it hasn’t been good enough.“At the end of the day, we haven’t got that premiership and that’s what we’re chasing. My best football has been played here and I reckon I can go further over the next three years and help this club win its next premiership.“We’ve had some success over the past few years, but we need to take that next step and I truly believe we can do that with the squad, coaches and staff that we have here.”South Sydney coach Jason Demetriou added: “There are a few things we can address that will make us that ten per cent better. Latrell and Cody have a huge drive to be successful.”Despite winning two premierships at rivals Sydney Roosters, Mitchell said he had always been a fan of Souths.“Ever since I got the opportunity to come over Anzac Parade (from the Roosters) to be at Redfern – and among this great club – I have always had South Sydney running through my veins with my dad (former Souths player Matt) and definitely Taree, they (the locals) love the Rabbitohs,” he said.“I’ve always known if it wasn’t my first team it was my second team and now it’s my first team. I want to be here for the rest of my career. It’s been a rollercoaster ride – ups and down, leaps and bounds.”Souths CEO Blake Solly claimed re-signing Mitchell and Walker was a “significant day for the South Sydney club.”“I’m very happy to know that the best is yet to come,” Solly said.WALKER DEFIANT ON NRL END DATE—Jamie PandaramCody Walker has revealed he and Latrell Mitchell barely had to discuss their contract talks with South Sydney before agreeing to remain at the club for years to come.The star playmaker and fullback will officially confirm on Wednesday that they’ve re-signed with the Rabbitohs, but Walker has opened up to News Corp Australia about the short conversation he had with Mitchell that has resulted in the club holding on to both, and hooker Damien Cook.“It wasn’t an in-depth chat, it was more like, ‘What are we doing?’” Walker said.“We both wanted to stay, so ‘Let’s get the deal done’. It’s similar to how we communicate on the field, it’s not me or him talking loudly when we’re on the field, it’s just little signals here or there, knowing what the other person is doing.“It’s an instinctive type of relationship we have on the field. We spend a lot of time together, and we might be watching footy and I might say, ‘Bra, we should be doing this’, and he’ll say ‘Sweet, let’s do it’.“I’ve got that relationship with Cooky as well, he and I have had the same journey so we respect each others’ path. We fought our way through reserve grade, got our crack that way, and we’ve got a great relationship off the field which only helps you on the field.“And Latrell’s no different.”Where will South Sydney finish in 2023? Mitchell has signed a three-year extension until the end of 2026, while Walker and Cook will remain until the end of 2025 after both inking two-year-deals, but it won’t be the last contract of 32-year-old Walker’s NRL career if he can help it.“Don’t write me off, I think starting late in my career has helped prolong my NRL career,” said Walker, who debuted in 2016. “I wasn’t bashed around as an 18-year-old kid, and I’m not saying that’s for everyone, and that everyone should take that long to play NRL, but it worked for me.“If I had my way I probably would’ve wanted to play in the NRL at 18, 19. But my mentality at the time, I had some growing up to do, it took me a while to find it, and I’m glad I did because when I did debut I appreciated what I had in front of me and what I needed to do to keep myself around the game.“That’s the same mentality I have right now. Yes, I’ve got a deal until the end of 2025, but that’s not to say that’s the end for me.”Walker said the symmetry between his journey and that of Souths has forged a deep connection.“I don’t think there was any option to leave, I just find Souths are like home,” he said.“I didn’t really get what South Sydney was about until I came to the club, because I wasn’t a supporter of the Rabbitohs, I didn’t know the history, didn’t know anything about it.“Once you walk through the doors of Souths, you just have this feeling, it’s hard to describe, it’s similar to my journey. I didn’t debut until I was 26, I had an opportunity, I let it slide, all those things, I came back and resurrected my career.“Souths were kicked out of the comp, came back. And I just love that they’re a fighting club.“They went through a lot of hard times when they got back into the comp, that didn’t change the fact the supporters were still there, turning up.“And to see the club work its way back to win a premiership, and see the footage of that week, the parade in 2014 was just unbelievable, the march when they were reinstated was amazing.“You feel a part of something special being at this club.“Once I debuted, I loved everything about the club, what they do in the local community, it’s a special place to be a part of.”Now, the star trio of Walker, Mitchell and Cook will plan to land Souths their 22nd premiership in 2023.“That’s the goal every year, if you don’t have that mentality it’s time for you to give it up,” Walker said.“You want to be the best team, work hard, train hard through this period so you’re fit enough and strong enough to get through a season of the NRL. It is quite a grind, but that’s the goal, to win it.”

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