Bateman to exit Raiders at NRL season end

England back-rower John Bateman will leave Canberra at the end of the NRL season.

The Test star told the Raiders on Tuesday morning of his decision to depart with a return home to his former UK club Wigan or a move to Canterbury possible options.

Bateman was a key member of Canberra’s run to the grand final last year but is yet to play in 2020 because of a troublesome shoulder injury.

Raiders boss Don Furner said the 26-year-old had decided to leave after being given permission to seek other opportunities, with the club unable to upgrade his contract due to salary cap constraints.

“The club made the difficult decision to allow John to pursue other long-term options and as a result, 2020 will be his final season with the Raiders,” Furner said in a statement.

“We’re looking forward to John returning from his shoulder injury soon and finishing his time by helping us make the semi-finals again.

“John was fantastic in 2019, featuring in our first grand final appearance since 1994 and winning the Dally M for second rower of the year.”

Bateman thanked the Raiders and said he was doing all he could to return to the field this year.

He’s believed to be at least a month away.

“The Raiders gave me an opportunity to come to Australia and play in the NRL and I’ve loved every moment playing for the club,” Bateman said.

“I’m doing everything I can to make sure I get back on the field as soon as possible and finish my last season with the Raiders on a high.”

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