Despite being tipped by Lote Tuqiri to be thrown straight into the NRL side, John Bateman looks set to be kept in cotton wool this weekend by Tim Sheens.
After months of waiting for visa clearance, Bateman finally touched down in Sydney on Friday, and was rushed into a Tigers' polo as the club readies itself for their opening round clash against the Gold Coast Titans.
While initial thoughts were that Bateman would be reintroduced to the NRL via an interchange role, The Sydney Morning Herald reports that Bateman will sit out the Leichhardt Oval clash.
The club is reportedly airing on the side of caution with the former Raider, who will now watch the match from the stands, with returning rookie Shawn Blore set to start on the right edge.
Asu Kepaoa has made the move from the backline to the second-row over the off-season and is expected to jag the vacant bench role while Bateman warms into the role, however will likely drop out of the 17 when the Englishman's return pushes Blore to the bench.
The publication also reports that Charlie Staines will start on the left in Ken Maumalo's absence with Daine Laurie winning the fullback role, while star recruit and captain Apisai Koroisau will require a fitness test to line-up in the match after picking up a calf complaint.
The Wests Tigers will host the Gold Coast Titans at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday afternoon, introducing fans to the likes of Staines, Koroisau and Isaiah Papali'i for the first time in their colours.