You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content
Raiders back-rower John Bateman.

John Bateman is loving Australia so much he's thinking of becoming a citizen.

"Aussie John" has a nice ring to it.

"A few people have asked me about that. It's one of those things I'd definitely be interested in looking into," he told

"It would be massive for me. Josh [Hodgson] has got his now – 'Aussie Josh' is what we call him – and Elliott [Whitehead] is thinking about becoming 'Aussie Elliott'. I do really enjoy it here."

Bateman is loving the Canberra Raiders so much his manager is arriving from England at the end of the season to start extension talks. The 25-year-old isn't off contract until 2021 but he's already planning to extend that.

"I think for me personally it's the best football I've played and that's a big part of coming here and what Canberra has done for me," Bateman said.

How well do Bradford Brothers know each other?

"That's why I want to stay," he said, dismissing any thoughts of returning to Super League or testing his value with another NRL club.

The Raiders' love of Bateman after just 12 matches is not purely based on his stats, although they're pretty impressive with an average four tackle-busts and 110 metres a game.

The work rate is one thing – the way he has embedded himself in the Canberra culture is quite another.

Then there's the admiration for coach Ricky Stuart.

"He knows everyone. He said that to me once and I thought 'Yeah, yeah' but it's true. He knows absolutely everyone. He's a great bloke. For me personally, I get on well with him off the field as well. We go for a coffee or a pint together.

Raiders back-rower John Bateman.
Raiders back-rower John Bateman. ©Gregg Porteous/NRL Photos

"To listen to someone who has really been there and done everything – won titles, played Test football – well you learn off those types of blokes. It's not like he did it at your standard level. He did it at the highest level.

"Even my grandma knows of him. She keeps telling me she remembers the try Ricky set up for Australia to beat Great Britain [2nd Test, 1990 Kangaroos tour]."

There is a downside with all this happiness. Bateman is missing his 10-year-old daughter Millie. But she is coming soon for a visit in the northern hemisphere school holidays, and he went back to England to see her when he spent a month out with a fractured eye socket.

"I've enjoyed it so much, don't get me wrong. But there's been times I've really missed my daughter and family  - you're probably not normal if you don't. I do have a great support group around me here though."

Bateman back with a bang

Bateman's football has changed slightly. He's a quicker thinker and smarter operator these days.

"My stats look okay but I'm not a stats man. I look at the game I played in Super League to here and it's a similar style.

"But you probably have to change here – and no disrespect to Super League – but you're coming up a lot more stronger teams and better players. You have to think of ways to get better.

"I'm not one to sit and watch a video and think how I need to change. I don't pre-plan things. I basically play what I see but if I see other players doing something I like, I'll change."

And three players that come to mind are Whitehead, South Sydney's Sam Burgess and Cronulla's Wade Graham – all edge men.

"Elliott is a big one for me. Obviously, he's a couple of years older than me but I grew up playing with him. Personally, I don't think he gets the credit he deserves.

Even my grandma knows of him. She keeps telling me she remembers the try Ricky set up for Australia to beat Great Britain

John Bateman on Ricky Stuart

"He's a very good player. He can do more than just your average back rower. I don't model my game on him but I like some of the things he does.

"Sam is another. I know him well but I just like the way he plays. He's tough and he just never gives up. He changes any game he plays in. You put him in last Thursday night's game [against Wests Tigers] and he probably would have won that game for the Rabbitohs.

"I also like Wade. I've watched him a lot although I've only played against him a couple of times. He has a fend, an off-load, a kick, a pass. He's got everything.

Bateman gathers quite a lot of accolades himself from teammates, opposition players, media commentators.

"It's nice and you'd rather them talk that way about you than the other way.

"But people have one good game in the NRL and they receive such praise. However, one bad game and the accolades disappear quickly."

With the way Bateman has acquitted himself in season one in the NRL, the praise to criticism ratio looks set to remain in his favour for the foreseeable future.

Acknowledgement of Country

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.

Premier Partner

Media Partners

Major Partners

View All Partners