Batley Bulldogs focusing on doing the basics right at Featherstone Rovers
Doing the basics right will be the main focus for Batley Bulldogs when they visit Featherstone Rovers in the Challenge Cup on Saturday afternoon.
Craig Lingard’s side booked their place in the second round of the competition with a fine 19-6 win over Halifax at the Shay Stadium last weekend.
Batley met Featherstone in pre-season two weeks ago as they suffered a 36-16 defeat in what coach Lingard described as a disappointing display.
The Bulldogs boss wants his side to back up their performance against Halifax and hopes his forward pack will be able to set the tone early on against a strong Rovers outfit.
“It is really simple, we need to run harder and tackle harder. That is how simple rugby league is sometimes,” he said.
“If you control the ball when you have got it, you are in with a chance.
“Featherstone have got some real big players in the middle of the park and some class out wide. We have played well for one game this week but we have to back it up.
“You have got to be consistent, it can’t just be a one-off. We have got to do it this week and the week after.
“If we don’t back it up, we will see ourselves on the wrong end of a bad result.
“The message to our middles again this week is that you need to lay the platform so the outside backs can do what they want to do as well.”
Featherstone are tipped for promotion and earned their spot in the second round with a 41-16 victory over Bradford Bulls on Sunday afternoon.
Batley will travel to Post Office Road for a third time in four weeks on April 2, as they open their Championship campaign against James Webster’s side.
Lingard feels his squad has got healthy competition for places with full-back Luke Hooley keen to feature on Saturday after being withdrawn against Halifax due to taking a knock to the face.
“I know he is keen to get back out there, he messaged me straight after the game saying he would have come back on and he is fit and available for this week,” Lingard added.
“That is the competition we have got, he knows Elliot Hall is waiting in the wings to jump into his spot at full-back.
“People want to keep the shirts when they have got it because they know someone else could come in and claim a shirt as well.”
Victory for the Bulldogs would see them advance to the third round of Challenge Cup and book their spot in the semi-final of 1895 Cup, meaning they would be just one more win from Wembley.