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Luke Bateman : Digital Image by Charles Knight copyright NRLphotos. NRL Rugby League, Gold Coast Titans v Canberra Raiders, Cbus Super Stadium, August 23rd, 2015.

Luke Bateman’s long awaited NRL debut arrived in 2015 and the outstanding prospect more than lived up to the hype with the 20 year old being awarded the Rookie of the Year Award at the conclusion of his promising debut season.

Mature beyond his years, Bateman has been earmarked as a first grader for some time and has consistently been one of the club’s best in the Holden Cup since making his debut in the competition in 2013.

He experienced his first NRL pre-season in 2014 and his game benefited enormously as a result. With that prior involvement under his belt, Bateman’s efforts over the course of the 2015 pre-season paved the way for his NRL debut in the opening round of the competition.

So impressed with his dedication and professionalism throughout the pre-season, and his subsequent performances in the trials, Ricky Stuart selected Bateman to make his debut from the interchange bench in Round 1 against the Cronulla Sharks at Remondis Stadium.

Bateman played just 15 minutes in his the 24-20 victory over the Sharks but did enough to again gain selection in the team for Round 2.

Following the loss to the New Zealand Warriors in Round 2, Bateman was then relegated back to the NYC.

One of Bateman’s major strengths is his ability to play big minutes however he found his game time limited in the top grade with the likes of Fensom, Kennedy and Soliola all able to play long stints out on the field.

Testament to his maturity, Bateman did not drop his bundle and continued to be a dominant force in the club’s Under 20’s outfit in his role as captain.

Bateman was called upon twice more mid-season but was used sparingly in Round 7 by Stuart and did not take the field at all in Round 12 due to his inexperience in such tight, must-win fixtures.

Again Bateman returned to the NYC to ply his trade and improve on the key facets of his game that would enable him to return to the NRL.

The Miles Devils junior’s form in the Holden Cup saw him selected in the Queensland Maroons Under 20’s team for the second successive year.

Despite his quality performance in the state arena, Bateman was peculiarly overlooked for selection in the Junior Kangaroos which mystified his club Coach Mick Mantelli.

“I was shocked that he didn’t make the Junior Kangaroos to be honest with you,” Mantelli said. “He’s one of the most dominant players in the Holden Cup and his performances for us this year have been nothing short of sensational.”

Bateman overcame the disappointment and his inspirational efforts in the NYC saw him recalled into the Raiders NRL line-up in Round 24. Impressively, Bateman kept his place in the team for the remainder of the year.

As a result of his progress this season, Bateman was awarded the Rookie of the Year Award at the Meninga Medal.

Off contract at the end of 2016, Bateman will look to increase his number of NRL appearances and game time in the top grade next year in a bid to extend his tenure at the Green Machine.

Most Memorable Moment:

Ask any player and they never forget the moment they were told they will be making their first grade debut.

Early in the week in the lead up to Round 1, Stuart asked Bateman when he thought that he was ready to make his NRL debut.

Bateman confidently replied “I think I’m good to go now Stick!” to which Stuart said “Good because you’ll be playing first grade this Sunday, congratulations mate.”







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*Did not take the field in Round 12