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Bateman ready for Raiders redemption

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Not so long ago, an ugly altercation with a teammate threatened to derail John Bateman's rugby league career.

But the England back-rower has credited the lessons learned from his 2016 controversy with helping him inspire Canberra's remarkable run to Sunday's NRL grand final.

Right now Bateman is the toast of the nation's capital, earning cult status in a stunning NRL debut season that may yet be capped with the Raiders' first title in 25 years.

It almost seems inconceivable that Bateman could be shed in a bad light.

But Bateman admits his career has taken some wrong turns - most notably his infamous incident at UK Super League club Wigan in 2016.

A day that started with a fun team trip to the races ended with what police described as a fracas between Bateman and teammate, ex-Parramatta Eel prop Lee Mossop, outside a nearby gym.

When the dust settled on the incident, Bateman copped an eight-week ban and hefty fine.

As he cut a frustrated figure on the sidelines, Bateman admits he considered walking away.

Yet now he believes his time on the rugby league outer has steeled him for the battle ahead for Canberra against defending champions Sydney Roosters.

"You learn from it, no doubt about it," he told Fox Sports website.

"It was part and parcel of growing up. I learned from it and came back from it.

"I knew I only had an eight-week ban but I sat there a few times and thought that I didn't want to go back to Wigan.

"Stuff happened that day. I know my side of the story, people have theirs and I know what I got banned for.

"But I came back into that side and we won a premiership that year.

"You have your ups and downs. You've just got to be professional about it - you can't let it get to you otherwise it's just going to keep biting you on the arse."

Rather than dwell on his colourful past, Bateman is these days more focused on the Raiders' future.

And he believes it augers well with forward leader Josh Papalii and backline guns Jack Wighton and Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad by his side after upsetting South Sydney 16-10 in their preliminary final last week.

"Everyone has kicked on massively. I've never played with a better forward than Paps (Papalii)," he said.

"Jack (Wighton) runs the game, he's killing it, and Charnze is fantastic to play with.

"Throughout the team, we've just got to keep doing that job - it means nothing if we don't back it up (after win over Rabbitohs)."

© AAP 2019