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I'm good to go, says Bradford Bulls ace John Bateman
John Bateman has declared himself ready for a return to Super League action as he prepares to give the Bulls a timely boost in this weekend’s home clash with Hull KR.
The homegrown back-rower will come into contention to face the Robins after playing 80 minutes and scoring a hat-trick in the Academy’s 46-16 win at Widnes on Friday.
Bateman looked in excellent physical condition and seems certain to play some part against Rovers as coach Francis Cummins waits on the fitness of several players.
Chev Walker and Matty Blythe picked up ankle knocks during Friday’s 22-22 draw at the Stobart Stadium and Jamie Langley sustained a groin problem, while Matt Diskin went to hospital after being taken ill, although he was discharged later that night.
All four men will be assessed today but Bateman, who underwent a reconstruction of his right shoulder during the off-season, said: “I’m ready to play for the first team in Super League now.
“I felt fit on Friday and have done for a few weeks to be honest. It was great to get out there and play some rugby again. I’m definitely ready to go for Sunday now.”
The 19-year-old has undergone a pre-season of his own following his shoulder operation, and a change of diet and arduous fitness programme have primed him for a Super League return.
He was certainly far too strong for Widnes’ youngsters on Friday and ran in a superb first-half trick while having a hand in several other tries.
Bateman added: “I enjoyed getting the ball in my hands and was delighted to score three tries but I was equally pleased with the teamwork we showed.
“We played really well and I think the Under-19s can really kick on now.
“Sam Wood and Adam Brook were excellent and I believe quite a few of this side could be pushing for the first team in the next year or two.”
Bateman has been touted as potential future captain of the Bulls and showed his leadership qualities as a constant vocal influence during Friday’s win.
He said: “In the first team, you get the senior leaders who help you through the game so I think me talking to and encouraging the lads in the Under-19s helps them.
“If they make an error, it’s not the end of the world and you just get on with it. I enjoy helping them out.”
Bateman, Walker and James Donaldson were among a number of Bulls players who suffered cuts and grazes from Widnes’ controversial i-pitch.
Cummins said: “John needed to play a full game before he came back into contention, so he will be considered for this weekend.
“It’s great to see him back and he’s done really well in his own pre-season.
“He’s paid close attention to his diet and he’s looking fit, and that’s what we need right now because we have a small squad.
“We knew that we were going to have a small squad anyway but it’s round six and we’re already looking a bit thin on the ground.”