Bradford Bulls: Bateman's career tips over coffee with newly-crowned world player of the year Sinfield (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Bradford Bulls: John Bateman's career tips over coffee with Leeds Rhinos' newly-crowned world player of the year Kevin Sinfield
John Bateman this week met up with Kevin Sinfield for tips and advice from the England captain and newly-crowned Golden Boot winner.
The Bulls back-rower skippered the England Academy side during their tour of Australia last year and is regarded as one of the best young prospects in Super League.
Bateman was advised by Bulls coach Francis Cummins to speak to Sinfield about maximising his rich potential.
The long-serving Leeds stand-off similarly made his Super League debut as a teenager and has gone to captain the Rhinos to six Grand Final victories, with five of those coming in the past six seasons.
His achievements reached a glorious crescendo yesterday when he was named the winner of the prestigious Golden Boot, awarded annually to the game's greatest player by Rugby League World magazine.
When Cummins suggested that Bateman should meet up with his former Leeds team-mate, the 19-year-old jumped at the opportunity and they met for coffee on Wednesday afternoon.
Bateman – currently recovering from a shoulder reconstruction – said: “Franny obviously knows Kevin very well from their time together at Leeds and he asked me if I’d like to meet up with him.
“I jumped at the chance because it was a great opportunity to meet the England captain and you can’t get any better than that.
“We met at Costa in Birstall and had a coffee while chatting about all sorts of things related to rugby and life in general.
"Kevin wasn’t trying to tell me how to live my life, he was just giving me tips. He was asking me about my life and how I was coping with playing rugby at a high level at such a young age like he did.
“It was good because he’s been there and done it himself.
“He’s gone from playing at a young age to being the best in the world, which showed with him winning the Golden Boot award.
“I looked up to him when I was growing up and even meeting him on Wednesday I was like ‘wow, I can’t believe I’m sat talking to him like he’s a mate’.
“I was still in awe of him but it was really good to take a few things from Kevin and his lifestyle off the field.
“He said to keep in touch and that if I ever need anything then to drop him a text and he’ll always be there... apart from when we’re about to play Leeds, of course!”
Cummins recently arranged for James Donaldson and Jobe Murphy to speak to Leeds back-rower Jamie Jones-Buchanan and feels Bateman will reap the benefits of meeting Sinfield.
The Bulls coach said: “The reason I teed this up for John is because I know Kevin really well and there is no-one better.
“Obviously he’s had the recognition with the Golden Boot but there is a lot more to being a rugby league player.
“Kevin is getting a lot of glory at the moment but he’s had adversity in his career as well – getting dropped for a Challenge Cup final and things like that.
“He’s got some great experience and knowledge to pass on and I’m really grateful to Kevin to spend time with John.
“I know Kevin has got a lot out of it too – thinking about his career and where he is – so it’s great he can help the next generation.”
Meanwhile, Cullingworth cyclist Hannah Mayho yesterday delivered a motivational speech to the Bulls squad about her time with British Cycling after recovering from a serious road accident.
Cummins said: “Hannah’s talk went down very well with the players.”