WIGAN WARRIORS’ Bradford product John Bateman is determined to spoil the retirement party of one of his childhood heroes.
Bateman grew up watching Jamie Peacock during the now-Leeds Rhinos prop’s days as a Bradford Bulls player.
Peacock will hang up his boots after Saturday’s First Utility Super League Grand Final and Bateman, who joined Wigan from Bradford at the end of 2013, is desperate to ensure he finishes without another winner’s ring.
“It’s weird to play against him now, because I used to sit in the stands watching him play,” Bateman said of Peacock.
“I like playing against him – I see it as a good chance to test yourself against the best.
“Those run-ins, they’re nothing personal – we both just want to win. I’ve spoken to him after the games and he’s told me to keep on doing what I’m doing, which was nice to hear.”
Bateman was a member of the Wigan side which lost to St Helens in last year’s title decider and that’s a feeling he does not want to experience again.
“No-one remembers second best,” he said. “Man for man, put us up against anyone and we’re better than anyone.
“It’s if we decide to turn up. We do try our best all year, but when we have to do it, we do it. And we’ve got to do it once more.”
Bateman feels Wigan are in a better place than 12 months ago.
He added: “I played about 20 minutes at the end and that’s the big thing, I want to put my foot down on this one.
“I can’t say I had a proper go last year.
“It was one of those things, but I’m really looking forward to this.
“I was finding my feet a year ago. A few lads were – George (Williams) for instance – and now he makes the side tick.
“I feel more settled than a year ago. I know my role here.”