Wests Tigers player John Bateman is facing a significant challenge as he prepares to face the North Queensland Cowboys in Townsville on Saturday. After taking advantage of the team’s bye week, Bateman traveled nearly 20,000 kilometers to visit his family in the north of England. However, this means that he will only have three days to recover from the extensive travel before the game.
Despite the potential difficulties of adjusting to the humidity of Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Bateman faces an additional obstacle in the form of jet lag. After completing the long journey from Bradford to Townsville via Sydney, he could become the first player to be affected by jet lag in this way.
Nevertheless, Bateman has been performing well for the Tigers since making his debut in round three. In fact, he has made such an impression that he was given the captaincy while Api Koroisau and Luke Brooks recover from injuries. Tigers prop David Klemmer expressed confidence in Bateman’s ability to overcome any travel fatigue, emphasizing his importance to the team.
Meanwhile, Tigers assistant coach Benji Marshall is set to meet with Latu Fainu, a promising young player from the Sea Eagles who has been targeted as a potential replacement for Luke Brooks. Brooks recently confirmed that he will be leaving the Tigers after 11 seasons to join Manly on a four-year deal. This has sparked a discussion about who will fill the halves position at the Tigers next year, especially considering Adam Doueihi‘s uncertain return from a knee injury.
In their upcoming game against the Cowboys, the Tigers will introduce a new halves pairing consisting of Daine Laurie and Brandon Wakeham. However, both players are off contract at the end of the season, prompting the Tigers to explore other options. The team has expressed interest in Braydon Trindall from Cronulla and is also looking into potential options in the Super League.
While there are several potential candidates, including Sam Walker from the Sydney Roosters and Blake Taaffe from South Sydney, nothing has been finalized yet. Wakeham understands the importance of proving himself to the Tigers and is willing to be patient, considering he only joined the club in January of this year.
“I’m really enjoying my time, I feel like I can play direct and guide a team around the park, they’re my strengths, and hopefully I can showcase that the next few weeks,” said Wakeham.
As the Tigers make these crucial decisions about their halves pairing for the future, all eyes will be on how Bateman copes with his grueling travel schedule and whether the new halves combination can perform well against the Cowboys.