John Bateman has shot down ideas he missed the primary two rounds of the season due to harm and says he’s nonetheless attempting to find out how the Tigers play after he made a promising return to the NRL on Sunday afternoon.
The Englishman couldn’t have picked a warmer day to return again, with the temperature hovering within the low 30s for a lot of the afternoon because the Bulldogs survived a late scare to beat the Tigers by 4 factors.
Watch each sport of each spherical of the 2023 NRL Telstra Premiership Season LIVE on Kayo Sports activities. New to Kayo? Begin your free trial now >
Bateman whacked Matt Burton with a brutal shot within the second half and appeared harmful when he had the ball, narrowly lacking out on a strive when he kicked twice however dropped the ball over the road.
It was an encouraging begin to his Tigers profession after solely arriving in Australia a number of weeks in the past as one of many membership’s marquee signings.
Followers had been disillusioned that he didn’t play within the opening rounds, whereas some sections of the media steered he might have been carrying an harm, however Bateman says he’s tremendous and that he really returned every week sooner than deliberate, with the spherical 4 conflict in opposition to the Storm the unique goal for his membership debut.
“I felt good,” he stated after the sport.
“I actually obtained over three weeks in the past, so I’ve simply tried to acclimatise and get to know the boys and the performs. It’s nonetheless a bit of bit scratchy on the market for myself.
“I in all probability don’t know half of the performs and the way the boys play, so I’m simply getting used to it and acclimatising.”
Bateman set the file straight when requested if he missed the beginning of the season due to an ankle harm, telling reporters that it might have been too onerous to fit into the workforce with out figuring out any of the set performs.
“Fairly lots of people have been saying ‘he’s injured blah, blah, blah’, however I believe these individuals have by no means achieved a pre-season,” he stated.
“A 3-week pre-season isn’t good for anybody. If I’d have performed the primary week and obtained injured, then everybody would have been saying ‘why did you play so early?’ To be honest, it’s an extended season, so it’s about going on the market and taking part in your greatest.
“It’s fairly onerous. Totally different individuals play in a different way. I play loads in a different way to individuals, so it’s about understanding individuals. That’s the onerous factor.
“We’re constructing mixtures and I in all probability had my first correct week this week at coaching the place I used to be really doing issues with out being flogged.”
Tigers coach Tim Sheens was happy with Bateman’s efficiency on Sunday afternoon, with the Englishman returning every week forward of schedule after fellow back-rower Isaiah Papali’i used to be dominated out as a result of suspension.
Sheens will want these two to do some heavy lifting because the Tigers look to bounce again from an 0-3 begin that has them destined to overlook out on finals but once more.
For Bateman, this can be a second probability to shine within the NRL.
His first stint was lower brief after two years as a result of he needed to be again residence together with his household throughout Covid, and he appears like he’s obtained unfinished enterprise having simply missed out on a title with the Raiders.
“I wouldn’t say I obtained homesick as a result of I don’t class it as residence,” he stated.
“I didn’t actually watch it (the NRL) as a result of I made the choice to depart as a result of I didn’t see my household for 12 months. It was my resolution to return residence to see my household as a result of like anybody on the time, nobody knew what was happening on the planet.
“My household weren’t allowed to return again to Australia, so I needed to decide.
“The chance for the Wests Tigers to convey me out right here (motivated me) and I really feel like I play my greatest rugby out right here as a result of the sport in all probability fits me a bit of bit extra.
“I simply needed to return again with the Wests Tigers as a result of I favored what Sheensy was speaking about with what he needed to construct. While you get right here you realise how massive the membership is, and we have to go locations.
“Sheensy and the backroom workers and what they do for the membership, that’s what we need to do. We have to go locations and we have to construct on that.
“I wouldn’t say there’s stress. Strain comes with something, however to me, it’s about enjoyment.”