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John Bateman’s number comes up for Bradford Bulls
John Bateman’s rise to prominence has been rewarded with the number 11 jersey for the 2013 campaign.
Bulls coach Francis Cummins has announced his squad list for next season and Bradford-born Bateman is the notable inclusion in the top 13, taking the number made vacant by Olivier Elima’s departure.
The 19-year-old forward from West Bowling enjoyed an outstanding breakthrough year in 2012, establishing himself as a first-team regular before captaining the England Academy side on their tour of Australia.
He won the Albert Goldthorpe Rookie of the Year award, was shortlisted for the Super League Young Player of the Year and has been tipped by Cummins as a future Bradford captain.
Bateman committed to his home-town club when signing a new long-term contract in October, ending months of speculation about his future.
Bateman wore squad number 26 last term but Cummins said: “John has earned the 11 jersey.
“The back row is very competitive but there’s plenty of time for every player to stake a claim for a place in the side.”
Significantly, Adrian Purtell has kept the number two shirt, encouraging hopes that he could be given the green light to resume his playing career.
The Australian centre suffered a heart attack in the aftermath of the Magic Weekend clash with Leeds on May 27 and has not played since.
He will undergo further tests within the next fortnight to determine his fate.
Purtell retaining the number two jersey means new recruit Jamie Foster must make do with number 17.
Matty Blythe takes number four from Chev Walker, suggesting the on-loan Warrington man will begin the campaign as first-choice centre alongside Keith Lulia.
Jarrod Sammut will wear the six jersey following the departure of Ben Jeffries, while on-loan Warrington forward Ben Evans takes 20.
Teenage trio Oliver Roberts, Sam Wood and Curtis Naughton have been handed 24, 25 and 26 respectively following their promotion into the first-team squad.
Number 27 has been left vacant and could be filled by the acquisition of a new prop.
2013 squad list: 1 Kearney, 2 Purtell, 3 Lulia, 4 Blythe, 5 Kear, 6 Sammut, 7 Gale, 8 Scruton, 9 L’Estrange, 10 Manuokafoa, 11 Bateman, 12 Whitehead, 13 Langley, 14 Diskin, 15 Walker, 16 Olbison, 17 Foster, 18 Platt, 19 Addy, 20 O’Brien, 21 Donaldson, 22 Murphy, 23 Evans, 24 Roberts, 25 Wood, 26 Naughton, 27 AN Other.