Canberra Raiders forward Luke Bateman has extended his deal with the Canberra Raiders, signing for two more seasons until the end of the 2018 season.
Bateman, 21, has been on scholarship with the club since he was 12 and joined the Raiders junior representative teams when he was 18, playing SG Ball and NYC in his first season with the Raiders. He made his NRL debut in 2015 playing six matches and has played 14 matches so far this season.
When it came down to the decision to extend his contract with the Raiders Bateman said it was an easy one and praised the Raiders for helping him develop into the player and man he is today.
“I’ve got a great history with the club and the club has been very good to me and my family for a long time. My hearts at the Raiders,” Bateman Said. “I love the organisation and I’m very happy to be staying here.
“This clubs a good club. If you want to make it your home it will take you in and embrace you.”
Bateman said the rapid rise into the NRL had been something he’d not fully expected, but said he was embracing the opportunity and was excited about where the team is at the moment.
“I started the year off in reserve grade and definitely didn’t see myself becoming a mainstay of the first grade team this early in my career,” he said. “The way the team has been going lately, up in the top four and winning games, it’s been very pleasing to be a part of that.
“The buzz around the place is awesome at the moment. We need to keep winning games to end the season in that top four spot. To be playing well and succeeding is a really good feeling. All that hard work we do, to see it pay off, is really pleasing.”
Raiders CEO Don Furner said it was always pleasing to see a young player commit to the club which had developed him and said it was a show of faith in the clubs junior development program.
“Luke has been with us since he was 12 so having him re-sign with the club is a huge tick of approval for our junior development and pathways program,” Furner said. “We spend a lot of time and resources on identifying and developing young players and to have them stay with the club after they make it to the NRL is the reward.
“We continue to be one of the leaders when it comes to developing players and it’s great to see Luke remain with us for another two seasons.”