Rarely has Luke Bateman been so excited to roll into club headquarters for day one of pre-season - even if he knew it was going to be "a fair bloody welcome back." The Canberra Raiders forward is relishing his time back on the paddock after a knee injury robbed him of the chance to play in an NRL grand final this year. Those who were there on that first Sunday in October aren't due back for another fortnight, making Bateman the most senior player on the park this week. But the 24-year-old attacked it like he was a fresh-faced rookie desperate to make a good impression as he looks to lay the foundations for a return to the NRL. "You walk in and see all these younger players and think 'geez, I'm getting long in the tooth'," Bateman said.