Wigan's Bateman quells NRL rumours
He is the Englishman who has constantly been linked to the NRL in recent years, but Wigan Warriors back-rower John Bateman has laughed off an immediate future in Australia.
Bateman has been more recently linked to the Canberra Raiders and the Newcastle Knights but the 23-year-old insists he won't be leaving Wigan any time soon as he's contracted there until the end of 2018.
The England international's name has been in the NRL rumour mill since he was 18 years old, when he captained the English Academy side during their tour of Australia in 2012.
His young daughter is also believed to be a huge reason behind his desire to stay in the Super League.
"When I read the rumours I continually ask myself how they keep coming up. It's one of those things, it happens in every sport when contract situations arise," Bateman said.
"I'm contracted at Wigan and I'm happy at Wigan. Playing in the Super League is something I've always wanted to do and I'm happy to continue doing so."
Contracts aside, Bateman said he'd consider a future in Australia if the situation arises down the line.
"If an NRL opportunity came up, I'd think about it. You always want to play against quality players. I know plenty of players who have gone over there and gone really well," Bateman said.
"Elliott Whitehead is one of my close mates for example. [Coming to Australia] is something you have in the back of your mind.
"But I'm playing well at Wigan so what's the point of changing something that's going well for you?"
Speaking after England's 36-18 Four Nations loss to Australia on Monday morning (AEDT), Bateman described playing against Australia as a dream come true, though was ultimately disappointed by the end result.
"I can say I'm happy with how I preformed but at the end of the day the team was eliminated meaning we weren't good enough," he said.
"It's annoying and it's frustrating. Nobody remembers who didn't win."
With the Rugby League World Cup less than 12 months away, Bateman believes England have plenty to look forward to despite their disappointing Four Nations campaign.
"If you look at the squad that we have, it's one of the best teams you could ask for. The close-knit of the players is such a positive for us," Bateman said.
"We'd be more disappointed if we didn't think we had anything to look forward to but we definitely have. Obviously having Wayne (coach Bennett) coaching us has been great.
With the World Cup coming next year we have so many things to be positive about. We're building for that. That's what it's all about for England now – we can't take our eyes off that."