Departing Bateman treasures taste of NRL

John Bateman, who says he's grown up during his two-year stint at Canberra, believes they can win an elusive title despite his return to England next season.

CAMERON SMITH of the Storm charges forward during the NRL match between the Wests Tigers and the Melbourne Storm at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland, New Zealand.
CAMERON SMITH of the Storm charges forward during the NRL match between the Wests Tigers and the Melbourne Storm at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland, New Zealand. Picture: Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images

Departing English star John Bateman says his two-year NRL stint has been the "best time of his life" and that an elusive premiership is still within grasp of his Canberra teammates.

The backrower played in a grand final in his first season for the Raiders and fell one short of a return on Friday night in a 30-10 loss to Melbourne.

He'll make the most of his final weeks in Canberra before a Super League return with Wigan in 2021.

"I can't ask for any more from the guys; it's just shit to end that way ... I wanted to win a premiership," he said.

"But I'm looking forward to getting back home; I've grown up a lot, came over here as a kid who let his hair down.

"It's been a good learning curve on and off the field and the best time of my life."

The Raiders were blown off the park by a Storm performance captain Cameron Smith described as "almost flawless" in the first 25 minutes.

But Bateman is sure the side will contend again, with last week's defeat of Sydney Roosters evidence they have what it takes.

"We are like a family down there and have been the most consistent team over the last two years now," he said.

"We beat the Roosters last week and that shows that we are in a good position with the young lads coming through.

"After Sticky (coach Ricky Stuart) spoke I said to the boys, 'you have got something special here, the sky is the limit.'"

Bateman didn't rule out a return to the NRL but defended his native competition.

"People say 'oh you're going back to a shitter league, but it's a tough league," he said.

"Rugby League is a tough game and NRL teams are still trying to grab players from Super League, so that says it all."