Bulldogs coach John Kear admits his side’s achievements in securing a third place Championship finish will rank among his career highlights.
Kear guided Sheffield Eagles to an unlikely Challenge Cup victory over Wigan in 1998 and was at the helm when Hull FC overcame the underdog tag to beat Leeds in 2005.
Kear was in charge of the Wakefield side that overcame huge adversity when they defeated Castleford to secure their Super League survival in 2006 but admits Batley’s qualification for the middle eights ranks alongside those memorable feats.
Kear said: “I have won Challenge Cups, the million pound game and the European Championships with Wales but this is up there with any of those achievements.
“We changed a lot in pre-season, we recruited intelligently and took a gamble by changing things in training and it’s paid off. I’m delighted for the players and the effort they’ve put in.”
Batley clinched third place with an impressive 62-24 win at Swinton last Sunday and Kear was delighted with his team’s performance.
He added: “We didn’t want to limp over the line, we wanted to sprint over the line and we showed a very energised performance.
“We were disciplined for the main part and we played some good rugby and I’m absolutely delighted for the players.
“To accrue 31 points in a division as tough as this, which has included full-time teams is a credit to the hard work everybody at the club has put in.
“I read Alex Ferguson’s book in the off season and he says don’t set specific goals, set goals that are achievable but which you are able to re-assess.
“Our goal at the start of the season was to ambush Leigh and from there the confidence has grown.
“I have enjoyed all 23 rounds and I’ll enjoy these next seven rounds even more.
“We have got a week off and a lot of players have booked holidays and I hope they enjoy them but when we come back we will look forward to another challenge.”