MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 08: Oliver Gildart (R) of Wigan celebrates scoring his sides opening try alongside Lewis Tierney (L) during the First Utility Super League Final between Warrington Wolves and Wigan Warriors at Old Trafford on October 8, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Wigan Warriors centre John Bateman is expected to leave the club later this year and move to the NRL, while Canberra are the early favourites to secure his services for the 2019 season.

Bateman is close friends with Elliott Whitehead, who is at the Raiders, along with England teammate Josh Hodgson. The Raiders are also closing in on signing Wigan prop Ryan Sutton.

Bateman is having a career year for the Warriors evidenced by his commanding performance in Saturdays 38-10 win over Warrington, but is seeking a longer-term deal and has shown a desire to play in Australia's hallmark league.

The 24-year old is contracted with Wigan next year, but a clause in his deal allows him to move to the NRL for a transfer fee.

Wigan have just retained Oliver Gildart and Willie Isa, wile also improving the contracts of youngsters Liam Marshall and Tom Davies. Last week the team signed Zak Hardaker, replacing Catalans-bound Sam Tomkins.

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