NRL side Canberra Raiders have confirmed England star John Bateman will be leaving the club at the end of the current campaign (Raiders 13/2 – NRL 2020 Grand Final Winners).
The former Bradford Bulls forward has secured an early release from the final year of his contract, despite an impressive spell in the capital.
Bateman, the reigning Daily M second-rower of the year, has been linked with the exit door for the last few weeks with both Wigan Warriors and Canterbury Bulldogs chasing his signature.
The 26-year-old has yet to announce his next move, but the Green Machine will now need to plan for life without him.
Raiders CEO Don Furner says the club wish him well, but he still has plenty to offer in the club’s colours before he moves on.
He told reporters: “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.
“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 is set to miss Friday’s game against St. George Illawarra Dragons in which the Raiders will be looking to climb up to fourth in the NRL ladder (Raiders 1/4, draw 25/1, Dragons 10/3 – Match Betting).
They have won four of their first seven games, but Bateman has yet to play his part after shoulder surgery.