NRL Rd 3 - Bulldogs v Wests Tigers
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 19: John Bateman of the Wests Tigers catches a pass during the round three NRL match between Canterbury Bulldogs and Wests Tigers at Belmore Sports Ground on March 19, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

John Bateman suffered an injury against the Melbourne Storm, however head coach Tim Sheens is keeping the details firmly under wraps.

The English recruit missed the first two games of the Wests Tigers' season as he acclimatised to Australia, however rumours continued to circulate of a mysterious injury keeping Bateman out, which he quickly denied.

“Quite a lot of people have been saying, ‘He's injured blah, blah, blah', but I think those people have never done a pre-season,” Bateman told Fox League before his Tigers debut.

“A three-week pre-season isn't good for anyone.

"If I'd have played the first week and got injured, then everyone would have been saying, ‘Why did you play so early?' To be fair, it's a long season, so it's about going out there and playing your best.”

However, the edge forward was notably in discomfort against the Melbourne Storm, though still proved to be one of their best on the park, playing the entire 80 minutes in just his second match back.

Sheens wouldn't reveal the nature of the injury, just that he probably shouldn't have played on.

“He came out and played in the second half, when he probably shouldn't have,” Sheens said during the post-match press conference.

“He's done no pre-season with us at all … Johnny at the moment still doesn't have his sun tan.

“He's struggling big time with just getting used to the conditions, but it won't be through lack of effort from him. He's a determined bugger.

“We'll need a scan and then check on his issues. We'll wait and see.”

The 72-year-old was grilled further on the injury, but wouldn't let anything slip.

“I'd prefer not to say, to be quite honest.”

The Wests Tigers are now the last winless team in the NRL for the second consecutive season, after Parramatta snuck home against the Penrith Panthers on Thursday night.

It doesn't get much easier for Sheens, who's next four clashes come against Brisbane, Parramatta, Manly and Penrith, although they will receive the bye in-between that spell.