Bateman commits to Bulls
5th October 2012
Bradford Bulls’ rebuilding efforts received a huge boost today when talented teenager John Bateman pledged his future to the club.
The 19-year-old second-row forward, who was shortlisted for the Stobart Super League player of the year award, is widely regarded as one of the hottest properties in the competition.
Administrators running the club in the summer ignored lucrative offers for Bateman and today he signed a new, improved three-year contract that will keep him at Odsal until the end of 2015.
Bateman, who captained the England Academy squad on their trip to Australia earlier this year, had 12 months year left on his original deal but was happy to commit himself to the club under the new Omar Khan regime.
“It’s been a long time waiting, with what’s been happening at the club and I’m really happy to get it sorted,” he said.
“There’s security here now and everyone knows what’s going on.
“People have been asking me where I’m going but from day one I’ve always said I want to stay at Bradford. Hopefully I’ve given the fans a bit back of what they’ve done for me.”
Bradford’s new head coach Francis Cummins feels the Bulls have put a marker down with the announcement.
“It’s a huge signing,” said Cummins, who has succeeded coach of the year Mick Potter.
“It sends out a signal of the ambition of the owners at the club, not just to our own fans but the game as a whole.
“They pledged that they would invest in youth and keep these good young people and we’ve secured one of the hottest properties in the game at the moment.
“We’ll get other people in - maybe foreign stars - when we get going but the foundations will be set by John, Elliott Whitehead and Tom Olbison who’ve been here since they were kids.
“That’s how we will take this club forward.”
Bateman is the second player to re-sign for the Bulls, following Chev Walker’s renewed commitment, but they have lost Tom Burgess, Bryn Hargreaves, Ian Sibbit, Ben Jeffries, Olivier Elima, Jason Crookes and Craig Kopczak and have a host of other players out of contract.
Club owner Khan, who bought the club out of administration in August, says they need help from fans and local businesses to continue to rebuild Cummins’ squad.
He said: “We have shown our commitment to the club by securing for Bradford Bulls the future of one of rugby league’s finest young talents.
“John is key to what we want to achieve at the Bulls and we want him to be here for the rest of his career but we need the support of fans in this.
“They showed last year just how committed they were to the club in the difficult period but we need them now more than ever as we look to take the Bulls to a new level.
“I urge everyone who is a fan of the club to purchase a season ticket for the new season as soon as possible and that will enable us to continue to build a squad that we are sure will be a successful one in the future.
“Without the support of the fans and businesses in Bradford we cannot move the club forward.”