The Tigers are under fire for mixed messages surrounding star recruit John Bateman amid suggestions he could miss another month with a persistent ankle injury.
Bateman missed selection for the second week in a row, with the Tigers using conflicting excuses that he’s coping and that he doesn’t know the plays.
However, an ankle injury that could see him sidelined until Round 6 was believed to be the real reason he didn’t debut for the Tigers.
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“John Bateman got off the plane and it looked like he had an injury, he seemed to be adjusting and he seemed unaccustomed to the players,” said Anasta on NRL 360.
“Where are we here? Why not play?”
“He doesn’t know the plays and I think he’s now coping with his ankle,” said Paul Kent.
James Hopper attempted to contact Sheenes about Bateman’s availability, but he refused to return calls about recruiting his star Tigers.
“I think we might be in the deep freezer with the Tigers,” Hooper said.
“I couldn’t get Tim Chains today. I texted him and said I wanted to talk specifically about John Bateman and called him six times.
“But he left us outside the outer barriers.”
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The Daily Telegraph’s Michael Kariannis doesn’t understand why the Tigers would go to such lengths to hide an ankle injury.
“Would anyone care if John Bateman got an ankle injury?” Karayannis said.
“This is what I cannot do.”
Kent replied, “That’s the whole point.”
So why all the smoke and mirrors about what is actually wrong with him.
“Because the thing is, when he was first mentioned with the Tigers and it looked like he was destined for the Tigers, a lot of people in England said, He’s got a sprained ankle, how’s he going?”
Anasta wondered if the Tigers knew Bateman had an ankle injury before he signed him to a monster deal worth $800,000 a year.
“So the tigers knew he had a crooked ankle?” Anasta asked.
Well, we hope so, replied Kent.
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“We don’t know because they didn’t answer the question.”
However, Hooper believes the Tigers did their due diligence, but that doesn’t explain the mixed messages on Bateman, who in some reports is a fair take on being fit to play.
“I think they did,” said Hooper.
Tim Sheen has gone to the UK to meet John Bateman and the club are determined to carry out the necessary medicals.
“Their high-performance staff and medical team have looked after everything.
“What happened between his signing and his arrival we’re not sure, but there’s definitely an ankle problem and we don’t know.
“Some guys will tell you John Bateman says he might not be right for another month.”
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Kent believed that long-suffering Tigers fans must have been dirty with the club for misleading them about the nature of Pittman’s fitness.
“But the thing that should really upset Tigers fans is the fact that when he got here the club came out and said, look we’re not playing him this week, he’s coping with it,” Kent said.
“So he didn’t play. So they deliberately misled their fans because you don’t take three or four weeks or whatever you end up acclimating to.
“The guys come here and you play them in a couple of days. The guys go to England in the middle of the season and play the next game.
“Don’t sit there and give a guy three or four weeks or go out now because they said he didn’t know the plays.
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“Every team plays the same style and they have different names for it.”
Carayaannis noted that the Tigers could play Bateman off the bench as a backup if they were concerned about his fitness or knowing the plays.
“If you’re worried about it, you can play him off the bench for 25 minutes as a quarterback,” said Karayannis.
“Really, if you’re worried about him not knowing the plays or you’re not sure where his physique is, I get all of that. Play him off the bench and let him play a bit.”
“He could come with Abe,” Kent joked, referring to captain Abe Coroaçao’s first-round bench role.
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