Last Updated: 19/09/18 5:08pm
As part of our build-up to the penultimate round of the Super 8s, Stephen Owen went to Wigan Warriors to catch up with Joe Greenwood and John Bateman.
From Bateman’s move to Canberra Raiders at the end of the season to Steve Prescott Man of Steel contenders, football, tennis and Wigan’s title ambitions, the duo packed a whole host of topics into the Facebook Live.
With Super League CEO Robert Elstone and Ralph Rimmer, the CEO of the Rugby Football League, set to answer your questions on a Fans’ Special of Golden Point on Thursday evening on Sky Sports, the Warriors pair also shared topics that they’d like to see discussed on the show.
“I think that the biggest change is, bring back the academy level. Academies, all the way through and maybe to the A teams again,” Greenwood said when asked what changes he would like to see made in the game.
“Then it would be more competitive for games. There are players, probably that all of the Super League teams have got, where they’re the fringe first teamers but they need to keep match fit and are struggling to get games.
“There’s a couple of players here that haven’t played for five to six weeks so that would be one of the biggest, to ask them ‘why we can’t set up that?'”
Bateman said he that the players aren’t overly involved when it comes to large-scale decisions but added that he’s pleased to see those at the helm grasping the development of the game with both hands.
“To be fair we don’t really hear much about it and we don’t get asked much about it which is the most frustrating thing because at the end of the day we are the players that are actually out there doing the job,” said the England international.
“I’m going over to the NRL next year. Why I’m going over there is because how the game has grown and how it’s taken off over there.
“It’s massive at moment, speaking to people over there and how it is in the public eye. Don’t get me wrong, it comes with being a massive game but I just think that Super League has stood still in a way for the last 10 years, I’d probably say.
“It’s just how the growth will be done and how they’re going to set about doing that because there’s a big job on there. I take my hat off to them for getting stuck into it. It’s the growth that we need in the game.”
Bateman’s move to the Canberra Raiders was announced in early August and as the season marches on at pace, he reflected on swapping England for Australia and the Warriors for the Raiders.
“Obviously I knew a month or so before but it doesn’t really sink in until it gets announced. Then, when it does you’re like, ‘Oh it’s actually happening now’,” added the 24-year-old.
“It’s [Wigan Warriors] been my home for the last five years, coming here day in and day out. It will be a change but I want to finish on a high this year and, I think the only way to go out finishing on a high, is winning that Grand Final with this group of lads and at this club.”
Bateman is one of a number of players that will be leaving when the season ends, as will current head coach Shaun Wane who has been in charge since 2012.
For all at the club, continuing their winning form is paramount in order to give those that are departing the right send-off.
“I think it’s a big part, with players going that have been here for so long going like Batty (John Bateman) and Waney (Shaun Wane) as well. We’re going to do it for them this year,” noted Greenwood.
“We’re all positive around the club. We’re all kicking on and hopefully we’ll keep pushing out these wins, ready for the semi-final.”
Huddersfield Giants vs Wigan Warriors
September 20, 2018, 7:30pm
In order for Wigan continue on the right trajectory they must prevail over Huddersfield Giants, live on Sky Sports Arena, on Thursday night. A victory would secure second position in the Super 8s table and a coveted home semi-final.
In Greenwood’s mind, without giving away their whole game plan, there’s a key lever and element that they’ll need to deliver at the John Smith’s Stadium.
“It’s going to be through the middle,” said the 25-year-old. “They’ve got a big pack so we have to dominate them and hopefully we can play off the back of that.”
Tune in to our coverage on Thursday night to see the Golden Point Fans’ Special from 7pm on Sky Sports Arena, followed by Greenwood and Bateman in action for Wigan Warriors against Huddersfield Giants at the John Smith’s Stadium.