Bulldogs’ focus on opener at toulouse

Batley's James Brown drives at the Castleford defence during last Fridays friendly.
Batley's James Brown drives at the Castleford defence during last Fridays friendly.
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Batley Bulldogs coach Matt Diskin insists his side will be fully focused for what he expects to be a tough opening Kingstone Press Championship game away to Toulouse Olympique on Saturday (ko 3.30pm).

The 19-man Bulldogs squad, coaches and backroom staff will fly to France tomorrow ahead of the showdown and Diskin’s side go into the game full of confidence having won all three pre-season warm-up games.

Diskin is aware of the logistical challenge his side face of travelling abroad but has put in place a full itinerary to give his side the best possible chance.

Diskin said: “You look at the full-time teams in Super League and everybody struggles to go to France just because of the logistics of it. That is magnified with the part time blokes. We have to control the feeling of a jolly away with the boys. We are there to do business and we know it is going to be tough over there.

“You look at the result they had against Catalans and they have some fantastic players and we are going to have to handle the issue of the travel, which is all new to these boys.

“We are going to have some whole new preparation all in one weekend but it is a challenge we are up to.

“Its always nice to go into the start of a new season with some confidence, we have slowly improved with each game and I’m really pleased.

“We have got a fantastic squad and it will be a tough job selecting the team.

“Some of the so called fringe players, who people didn’t know much about, you can see the quality they have in the matches they have played and we have got plenty of depth.”

Batley earned a 38-12 victory over a young Castleford Tigers last Friday and the performance pleased their new coach.

Diskin added: “Offensively in the first 20 minutes we were really good. We played with some nice width and played some good lines and we caused Cas all kinds of problems.

“The second half saw the most encouraging thing for me as defensively we were really good and we looked really structured. We made some good decisions with the ball and our game management was good.

“After we had done three or four sets we came up with a fantastic kick and chase at the end of it to turn the field position around and there were some encouraging signs. Our centres and wingers are looking very strong and I think you can see where I am going there.

“The rest of the team is up for grabs. Everybody has been outstanding all the way through pre-season and in the games they have played and it is hard to single out one person.”