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Raiders forward John Bateman.

Raiders recruit John Bateman played centre, lock and second row during his final year at Wigan.

He played for England at centre during the 2017 World Cup and in the back row for the 2018 three-Test series against the Kiwis.

He knows his fate is controlled by Raiders coach Ricky Stuart but if you ask Bateman, he yearns for the rough and tough action that comes in the forwards.

His hero is Wigan No.13 Sean O'Loughlin, who was so prominent in the World Club Challenge match between the Warriors and the Sydney Roosters on Monday morning.

In that match, O'Loughlin had 12 runs, three tackle-breaks, one intercept, 48 tackles (at 96 per cent efficiency rate) and no errors or penalties in 73 minutes of hard work.

"I've played a bit of centre throughout my career but I like playing second row. I like to be in the mix of everything," the 25-year-old Bateman told

"Coming from Wigan I played with one of the best loose forwards in the world in Sean O'Loughlin.

"So I watched him closely and how he did everything. I wanted to be just like him and I got to love that position [lock].

Wighton set for switch to six

"I always want to learn so we'll see where Ricky wants to put me. But I do love No.13 or in the second row.

"I've been training there and getting used to combinations in the left side, right side, and in the middle."

Josh Papalii is also a handy No.13 and played some of his best club footy there the back end of last season. He is also adept to No.10 or the left edge in the No.11 jersey.

So Stuart has a wonderful headache ahead of the round one game against the Titans. Bateman has a side strain and will not play any NRL trial games.

"He gives us wonderful utility value but I want to nail down a position for him, so he can focus and train on that one role," Stuart told about Bateman.

"I don't want him to train like a utility player. He plays so well on an edge and I can move one of those edges into the middle."

And Papalii?

"I want him in the middle too. I was talking to Kevvie Walters about this and he said they really found great value with Papa in the middle in Origin," Stuart said.

Papalii played off the bench in games one and two in the 2018 Holden State of Origin and started at prop in the third game.

Raiders forward John Bateman.
Raiders forward John Bateman. ©

"So it wasn’t fair on him playing here on the edge, while he's in the middle in an Origin series.

"So I could afford to put him in the middle where I needed his impact, as I had an edge player with Elliott [Whitehead] who would play on the left and move Joey Tapine to the right.

"Bateman gives me that opportunity to push one of those edge players into the middle, or play Johnny in the middle. So he does give me good versatility."

I watched him closely and how he did everything. I wanted to be just like him

John Bateman on his admiration for Sean O'Loughlin

As well as his versatility, Bateman has familiarity with South Sydney's Burgess boys from his England days and has circled the Raiders round 10 game against the Rabbitohs at GIO Stadium.

After so many games playing with the brothers, he will now face 120kg twins Tom and George and 116kg Sam front on.

"I'm looking forward to that challenge. And it’s not like I’m coming into the unknown, I’ve watched quite a bit of NRL last year after I had signed," Bateman said.

"I also had to tackle them in England training. But it is a new on-field challenge for me."

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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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