The Wests Tigers have turned to England on the recruitment front, Tigers director of football Tim Sheens confirming that the club has reached out to John Bateman for a return to the NRL.

The back-rower spent two seasons with the Canberra Raiders, making the NRL Grand Final and picking up a Dally M Second Rower of the Year award on his way to what became a stellar cameo in Australia, before packing his bags and returning to Wigan.

While Sheens never coached Bateman himself, he did coach against him during his time in the Super League, and has witnessed first-hand the silk and strength of the English international.

Fox Sports has revealed that the Tigers have approached the star over a return to the NRL in 2023, however Wigan are eager to hold onto the 28-year-old forward, setting a $350,000 AUD transfer fee, just to get Bateman out of the last two years of his Super League contract.

Canberra forked out a whopping $250,000 to land Bateman in 2019, though the Raiders happily opened their wallets seeing as transfer fees aren't included within the NRL salary cap.

Wigan have denied the reports, stating that they haven't been approached by the Wests Tigers over a release, and that Bateman is settled with his family in England.

The second-rower was passionate over his return when he re-joined the club in 2021, declaring Wigan as the side he'd like to hang his boots up with one day.

"I'm fully confident I'll be finishing my career at Wigan and that's one of my aims now," he said last January. "I've said previously I want to win everything and there's still a few trophies that I've not won over here yet. I want to do that with this group of lads," Bateman said to YorkshireLive last January.

"I've signed for four years with a fifth-year option and I'm really looking forward to that."

The signing is unrelated to the potential Isaiah Papali'i deal, though landing both could hand the Tigers one of the NRL's strongest back-row pairings to date.