West Tigers coach Tim Sheens says John Bateman will not be pushed into the team for the first round

West Tigers coach Tim Sheens won’t be pressured into pushing John Bateman into the team for the first round and says it would give him a big headache if he were to choose between Daine Laurie and Charlie Staines at full-back for the season opener.

With England international Bateman finally set to arrive in Australia this week, Sheens said he was taking a long-term view of the star deal, which is yet to hit his new team-mates following visa issues.

Sheens and his assistants Benji Marshall and Robbie Farah have just over a week to assess Bateman’s fitness ahead of their opening game against the Titans in Leichhardt on Sunday.

The 29-year-old was forced to train alone in the UK due to bureaucracy. The Tigers announced his signing to a four-year deal on Boxing Day.

When asked if former Raiders backrower Bateman would start the season on his NRL team, Sheens said: “We’ll just let him settle down. It’s a long-term contract and I know everyone wants to get off to a good start, but I won’t make a decision on that until he gets here.

“We’ll talk and he’ll fight us. He doesn’t know the players very well or knows the moves, he didn’t do the conditioning that we have.

West Tigers coach Tim Sheens.

West Tigers coach Tim Sheens.Credit:Getty

The Tigers could consider using Bateman from the bench in the opening rounds to bring him to full game fitness, especially given that fellow Isaiah Papali’i will start at left flank and Asu Kepaoa in an unfamiliar role during one Räuber shone with an overwhelming test victory.

Bateman’s arrival will put an end to one of the longest-running sagas of the summer, when he waited almost two months for his visa to be approved.

https://www.smh.com.au/sport/nrl/bateman-won-t-be-rushed-into-tigers-round-one-team-says-sheens-20230220-p5clzf.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_sport West Tigers coach Tim Sheens says John Bateman will not be pushed into the team for the first round

Ryan Sederquist

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