NRL 2023: Wests Tigers, Tim Sheens, John Bateman, injury, visa problem, when will Bateman arrive in Australia, signings, transfers, Adam Doueihi

Tigers coach Tim Sheens has shrugged off suggestions gun recruit John Bateman is nursing an injury — but conceded he was unsure when the Englishmen would arrive in Australia.

Report suggested an ongoing syndesmosis injury was behind the 29-year-old’s delayed return to the NRL after signing a four-year deal with the merger club in December.

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However, speaking to The Daily Telegraph, Sheens said Bateman’s absence was solely due to an issue with his visa.

“He has had a problem (with an old syndesmosis injury) but not to the point of any concern for us,” Sheens said to News Corp.

“He has got a couple of bumps and bruises on him but he played the World Cup.

“That (the ankle issue) is not going to be the problem. The problem is getting him here and that is almost solved.”

After paying a reported $250,000 transfer fee to Wigan to secure Bateman’s signature, the Tigers will be desperate to see the representative gun on the field come Round 1.

But as it stands, Sheens remained unsure when the backrower would arrive in Australia and whether he will be fit enough to take the field.

“I am not putting any time on it because all that does is there is more and more confusion if it doesn’t happen,” he added.

“Again, I am not going to make a judgment on that (his fitness) until he gets here because once he gets here he has to fit in with everybody and pick up his running and his kilometres on his legs.

“Whether he does or not (start the season) is not worrying me”.

Bateman joins Apisai Koroisau, Isaiah Papali’i, David Klemmer and Charlie Staines in making the move to Leichhardt.

Meanwhile, gun playmaker Adam Doueihi is reportedly considering his future after the Tigers offered him a one-year extension.

Last week, Doueihi expressed his desire to captain the merger club, explaining he has the “natural leadership qualities” to steer Sheens’ side around the park.

It’s definitely something I aspire to be,” the 24-year-old told

“When I started at Souths I was in the emerging leadership group and probably learnt my most back there off the leadership team — John Sutton, Sam Burgess, Greg Inglis, Adam Reynolds and Cody Walker.

“I was pretty fortunate to just listen to everything they had to say and watch they did day-in, day-out both on and off the field — I absorbed all that in.

“Since I’ve come across to the Tigers, I’ve been in the leadership group the past couple of years and I aspire to be a captain.

“I feel as though I have natural leadership abilities and I’m always doing stuff off the field to help improve. Whether it be speaking to a leader of another organisation, or another sportsperson — I’m trying to pick different peoples’ brains and how it could apply to me.

Originally published as ‘The problem is getting him here’: John Bateman rumour squashed

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