NRL talking points: Where next for John Bateman?

Jenna Brooks looks at the latest news coming out of the NRL, including where next for John Bateman, death threats for the Broncos and returning crowds.

Bateman released

John Bateman has been released by the Canberra Raiders, with 2020 being his final season in the capital.

I am hearing Wigan are favourites to resign the 2019 Dally M Second Rower of the year. The Bulldogs and St George Illawarra have also been linked with the forward.

We are so used to seeing Super League players at the top of their game leave for the NRL, so to see someone like Bateman possibly return, while he’s at the peak of his career would be a huge boost for the competition.

Canberra coach Ricky Stuart has criticised Bateman’s manager, Isaac Moses, but says he has grateful a decision has been made.

“It was always going to happen,” Stuart said. “I’m proud of the club that they put a timeframe on it. We knew what was going to happen, so we were sick of waiting.

“To Don (Furner’s) credit he put a time-frame on his manager and got what we knew was coming.

“It’s really disappointing because John is a real big part of the squad and a world-class player. To lose him really disappoints me because we here at the club have worked so hard to build a strong roster, and then you get players pulled out of it the way John has really disappointed me …. It’s disappointed me the way the game has allowed it.

“I feel the NRL need to help clubs in regards to how we have to deal with certain managers over the way they agitate clubs and manipulate communications and negotiations to suit them and them only.”

Broncos crisis

Brisbane’s 30-12 loss to the Titans was their fifth defeat in a row, and Broncos captain Alex Glenn has revealed some of the players have received death threats.

“Certain team-mates are getting death threats on social media. People can have their judgements, but that is not acceptable,” Glenn told a media conference this week.

“I am a big ambassador on mental health. No one should be told to go do something harmful to themselves for the way they are playing.”

It was a result that has seen the Broncos former coach, the most successful in the history of the NRL – Wayne Bennett, come under fire, with the Broncos chairman Karl Morris claiming Bennett left the club in a mess.

“It was my intention to remain silent, but if the Brisbane chairman or any other person at the Broncos wants to make false assertions, I will set the record straight,” Bennett told News Corp.

“Assertions have been made as to the quality of the roster and the state I left the club in.

“I was prepared to coach there in 2019 and 2020 with the roster that we had at the time and I don’t think anybody in the game didn’t think we could be a top-four side.

“I’m correcting the record here. The chairman must be oblivious to the running of the club – if the roster was so bad, why would Anthony Seibold take the job?

“Seibold took South Sydney to a preliminary final in 2018. I have no doubt he thought he could win a premiership with this Broncos roster.

“No coach, particularly a young one, would take a job with an inferior roster to the one he is leaving. You just don’t do that.

“I did not coach or have a rundown football team at the Broncos.”

Storm in Queensland

Melbourne have been forced to relocate indefinitely to the Sunshine Coast due to an increase in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Victoria.

Storm CEO Dave Donaghy said the plan is to relocate for two weeks, but that time frame could be extended if the rate of infection does not fall in Victoria.

“Sunshine Coast is the best option available to us in the circumstances we face at the moment and we would like to thank the Queensland Government for its assistance in making this location possible,” Donaghy said.

Crowds allowed

Round 8 will see Canberra, Gold Coast and Manly return to their traditional home grounds, for the first time since the competition was put on hold in March due to Covid-19.

All venues are allowed to operate at 25 per cent capacity, however, ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys has asked Victorian residents to ‘stay home’ after a sudden spike in cases.

“They will go ahead – with the condition that no Victorians are allowed in,” V’landys said.

“We’re going to be vigilant in ensuring no Victorians are going to any of our games.

“It only needs a few Victorians coming into NSW and everything is in jeopardy. We are just hoping the Victorians stay home.

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