It's been the best two years of his life, but the "shit" ending to his time with the Canberra Raiders has John Bateman open to an NRL return.
But for now, Bateman was looking forward to being out of the Apollo bubble and a return to normality before heading home to England in about a month.
That might see him have to endure even tougher protocols than he did as an NRL player with England currently in lockdown as the coronavrius continues to run rampant there.
Bateman was emotional in the aftermath of the Raiders' 30-10 loss to the Melbourne Storm at Suncorp Stadium on Friday night.
It ended his two seasons in lime green before his return to Wigan for 2021 and beyond.
He'll reunite with his family, including his daughter Millie. Although he'll also miss Canberra family.
The 27-year-old played in a grand final last year and the preliminary final this year in his all-too-short stint Down Under.
"I was pretty emotional out there and it was pretty tough to take. The loss got me," Bateman said.
"The group of boys in there they've been me family. They've looked after me.
"Whenever I've had to go somewhere, whenever I've needed a shoulder to cry on, whenever I've needed some help the boys, the coaching staff as well, I couldn't ask for much more from them.
"It's shit to end that way if I'm being honest with you.
"Don't get me wrong it's still in the back of me head, I'm not happy with just being finalist last year I wanted to win it.
"If something pops up in the future I'll have to go for it.
"But I'm looking forward to getting back home and give my little girl a big cuddle and seeing my family and just spend a bit of time with them."
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Bateman planned to relax with his Raiders mates and his girlfriend Amy before flying off to England in about "three or four weeks".
He was looking forward to being able to do normal things again and maybe a bit of travelling - COVID-19 permitting.
The players haven't been able to go to restaurants, cafes or even play golf. Now they can.
He has to make the most of it given England's struggles to control the virus.
"I've grown up a lot. I came over her as a kid, I've always been a bit of a tearaway, I do what I want and I believe in what I say and I've gone about it my own way," he said.
"On the field mate it's the week-in, week-out is what it is. You've got to be on your game.
"People say you're going back to a shit league. But Super League is a tough league.
"People can slag it off as much as you want, but the NRL teams seem to still try to get players from Super League.
"It's been a big learning curve for me but it's probably been the best time of my life these last two years. The only thing that's been missing is my family."
Bateman told his teammates as much once Raiders coach Ricky Stuart had spoken to the team.
He also gave them a parting shot of hope for the future.
Bateman's a natural born winner, having won two Super League titles from four grand finals before coming Down Under.
He came close to climbing the NRL summit as well and was confident the Green Machine had what it takes to do exactly that.
They'll get Josh Hodgson, Corey Horsburgh, Emre Guler and Curtis Scott back from injury next year and will welcome Ryan James to the fold.
Plus they have a host of young players champing at the bit after getting a taste of the NRL in 2020.
"You've got a squad there. We've been the most consistent team over the last two years now," Bateman said.
"We beat the Roosters last week and that probably shows we're in a good position and there's young lads coming through who are very good kids.
"I said to the boys, 'You've got something special here and the sky's the limit'. They just need to work hard and keep going with it."