Lote Tuqiri is back English international John Bateman to hit the ground running when he touches down in Australia, and emulate his 2010 efforts after joining the Wests Tigers from rugby union.
Bateman has only just received clearance on his visa and is yet to touchdown in Australia, missing the pre-season in entirety as well as both trial matches, and just 11 days until the club's first match of the regular season.
Tuqiri knows what it's like to to hit the ground running at a new a club, and may as well have boarded his plane to Australia with boots on in 2010.
The two-time NRL premiership-winning winger departed rugby union club Leicester at the start of 2010 to return to the NRL with the Wests Tigers, managing one training session at Concord before their Round 1 clash.
Doubling as his 100th NRL game, Tuqiri scored with his very first touch of the ball, and while he isn't backing Bateman to emulate that feat, he's adamant the forward won't miss a beat.
“I don't know if he will score a try on his first touch, but I'm sure he will get the job done,” Tuqiri told NRL.com.
Tim Sheens, the same head coach that Brough Tuqiri back, has been sending Bateman videos of their pre-season to keep the second-rower in the loop, and no doubt the 29-year-old would've watched their trials.
Sonny Bill Williams replicated the feat in 2013, arriving at the Roosters days before their 28-10 Round 1 loss to South Sydney. While Tuqiri scored with his first touch, Williams scored with his final run of the night after appearing via the interchange bench.
While Tuqiri admits playing in the forwards is a different kettle of fish compared to the wing, he's sure Sheens will extract his best.
“It was pretty easy on the wing but John Bateman plays in the second-row so it will be a bit different for him,” Tuqiri said.
“But he is a tried-and-true professional who has played in the NRL before, so he knows what to expect.
“Tim Sheens has been around for a long time, he has coached the likes of Craig Bellamy and Todd Payten, and he will know how to get the best out of John Bateman.
"I am really looking forward to seeing how he goes because I think Wests Tigers are going to have a big year.”
Tuqiri went to a preliminary final in his first season with the club while 'SBW' won a grand final with the Roosters in his maiden season, however expectations won't be as high for Bateman as the club stares down the barrel of 12-straight seasons without a finals game.
While Sheens' impact can't be understated, neither can the presence of Benji Marshall and Robbie Farah, club legends who have both taken up the clipboard as assistant coaches.
Marshall will move into the head coaching role in 2025, but not before Sheens works a little more magic.
"Tim is a coach who instils confidence in players", Tuqiri told NRL.com reporter Brad Walters.
"That is what he did with me. He said get yourself feeling right, take away this book to look at and I just had a few meetings with him.
“He is very, very clinical in what he does and there is a lot of stuff you have to read. That was good for me, and I did read it, but I have to admit I didn't take too much of it in.
Assuming John Bateman arrives within the next week he will be there Round 1. From memory Lote Tuqiri only got to the club 5 days prior to Round 1 2010 and debuted, scoring with his first touch @LoteTuqiri pic.twitter.com/4IbaJXnqKi
— TigerCast (@CastTiger) February 17, 2023
“I was just lucky that I had Chris Lawrence inside me, and he was a good talker. Benji Marshall was the other side of him, and Robbie Farah was a big talker too, so they made sure I knew what was going on.
“I think it is a good set-up with Benji and Robbie on the coaching staff with Tim. You have got three blokes who communicate differently, and I think they will make it easy for John Bateman to slot straight into the side.”
Bateman may return off the interchange bench for the club's Round 1 against the Gold Coast, especially after rookie forward Shawn Blore announced his intention to start.