BY CURTIS WOODWARD
John Bateman, how could you? This is grand final week. Canberra Raiders fans may never get to feel like this for the rest of their lives. The Raiders haven’t been to a decider since 1994. This is the club’s moment.
On top of all that – you yourself Mr. Bateman – are the red-hot favourite to win the Dally M for the best second rower in the National Rugby League… in your debut season… tonight!
And the kicker?
It was your birthday on Monday.
Life can’t get much better.
Australian rugby league fans have fallen in love with you. You’re a bloody national treasure, mate. You play the game tough and gritty and love getting under your opponent’s skin.
Not bad at all for an Englishman.
But then you went and killed Bambi.
You didn’t pull the trigger, John, but you did load Isaac Moses into the gun.
“I’ve got a new agent over here, I’m with Isaac Moses,” Bateman told NRL.com earlier in the week.
“I don’t know where Canberra are at with their salary cap. While I’m over here mate, I have to do what’s best for me and best for my family. Moving forward I’ll just have to weigh up my options and see what’s there.
“But Canberra is the most important thing to me this week, and once this gets out of the way we’ll sit down with Canberra and my agent will do what he will have to do, he will do his job. Going forward we’ll just go from there.”
Taken straight from the Isaac Moses playbook.
Bateman’s stock just crashed through the floor into the basement.
The fact is, Canberra will not cop any funny business from blood-thirsty player managers.
CEO Don Furner and coach Ricky Stuart will have no issue sitting down with Bateman, hearing out Moses, and then knocking him back. There’s the door but Bateman is staying. Your client has a contract for two more seasons. No deal.
There isn’t anything wrong with requesting a pay rise.
To get said pay rise, your bosses have to agree too.
If they don’t, you get back in your cubicle and you get on with your day.
“I owe Stick [Stuart] a lot,” Bateman added.
“He’s took me in and looked after me. He’s been a father figure to me, mate. When my family has been away he’s been the man I’ve gone to, sat there and cried to. He’s taken me in and looked after me. He’s a great bloke and I’m really grateful for what he’s done for me.
“But I need to do what’s best for my family. They know that. My little girl, I want to give her the best opportunities and life and I’ll see what those opportunities are. I don’t know where Canberra is at with what people are coming and going but we’ll sort it out after the season.
“You’ve got to earn as much money in your career as you can mate, I won’t lie to you. She’s so young and I need to give her the best opportunities in life. Whatever they are I will do because that’s what’s most important to me – my family.”
Bateman has failed to read the room on this one.
The larrikin Bradford-native has been a breath of fresh air in 2019 and fans love him.
But if you lie down with dogs you get up with fleas, Johnny boy.
Hopefully Bateman learns from this because the worst possible outcome for him and the Raiders is this distraction costs them on Sunday night in the biggest game of their lives.
Where will his stock be then?