MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 14: John Bateman of the Raiders scores a try during the NRL Qualifying Final match between the Melbourne Storm and the Canberra Raiders at AAMI Park on September 14, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

English star forward John Bateman could be set for a return to the NRL.

The former Canberra Raiders second rower played 34 games for the green machine over 2019 and 2020, having originally been signed from Wigan on a three-year contract.

He then was granted an early release from his Canberra contract to return to England at the start of the 2021 season, having played in Canberra's 2019 grand final side.

He had originally played 132 games during his first stint for Wigan, also playing 16 games for the English national team between 2015 and 2018.

Bateman has also played in four Super League grand finals, two of them resulting in premierships.

Now, Totalrl.com are reporting Bateman could be eyeing a shift back to Australia. It's understood that, while Bateman had moved back to England to be closer to his daughter, his partner who is Canberra-based is now feeling homesick.

The Australian's Brent Read also told Triple M that there is genuine interest from NRL clubs for Bateman to have a second stint down under.

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA - JULY 20: John Bateman of the Raiders thanks the fans after the round 18 NRL match between the Canberra Raiders and the Wests Tigers at GIO Stadium on July 20, 2019 in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

“There is a bit of mail there are a couple of NRL clubs circling John Bateman, just keeping an eye on things, potentially with a view to bring him back to the NRL,” he said.

“It’s one to keep an eye on over the off-season.”

Australian interest in the 27-year-old, who is in the prime of his career, is hardly a surprise given how good he was during the 2019 season.

That was a year where Bateman won the Dally M second rower of the year and was widely regarded as one of the best players in the competition, helping to guide the Raiders to the grand final.

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