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England back-rower John Bateman.

NRL-bound Englishman John Bateman has enviously watched his international teammates from afar as he counts down his time in the UK before heading to the Canberra Raiders for 2019.

Canberra beat several NRL clubs to land Bateman's signature and paid an undisclosed transfer fee to Super League club champions Wigan in order to recruit the England international on a three-year deal.

Likened to England teammate Elliott Whitehead for the ability to play in the back row or as a centre, Bateman faces stiff competition in the Raiders forward pack with Whitehead, Iosia Soliola, Joseph Tapine and Josh Papalii to battle for starting positions.

The 25-year-old has been predicted to light up the NRL when he arrives on Australian shores in December.

"I feel like I'm at the top of my game and I think for the NRL you have to be," Bateman told

"I just want to come over and test myself. The time is right, I've been with Wigan for five years and I'd say they're the pinnacle of the Super League. This was the next stepping stone for my career."

Match Highlights: England v Kiwis - First Test

NRL fans have enjoyed watching the likes of James Graham, Gareth Widdop, Josh Hodgson and the Burgess brothers become mainstays in recent years, and now Bateman is hoping to join them in proving his worth in Australia. 

He is one of three Englishmen who will be new to the NRL in 2019. He will join Wigan teammate Ryan Sutton at the Raiders, while Leeds winger Ryan Hall is headed to the Sydney Roosters.

"There's no bigger challenge than heading to Australia and playing in the NRL," Bateman said.

"As soon as I knew I was coming over I've taken more of an interest in the clubs playing and the players who I don't know. I've needed to do that this year and make sure I'm watching.

"Mum has helped me out with a book on Canberra for my birthday so I've been having a read of that. I like the hype over there. It's like [English Premier League] football here in a way, it's big there and I'm looking forward to that side of it."

Bateman delivered a late offload for England teammate Oliver Gildart's match-winning try against the Kiwis on Saturday and wants to head to Australia with a series victory.

England back-rower John Bateman (right).
England back-rower John Bateman (right). ©Bernard Platt/NRL Photos

England can win the series with a victory at Anfield on Sunday.

"We wanted a good start to the series and with the preparation we haven't had much time to get together so pleased with how it went," Bateman said.

"We've got a lot of players missing in the team but the players that come in have fit in well. Hopefully, we can finish with two more victories before I head across and start a new challenge."

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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