Shaun Lunt is under no illusions about the tough task that awaits him in the Championship next season.
The 32-year-old hooker spent an entire campaign in the division with Hull KR in 2017, following the Robins’ relegation from Super League in 2016.
Lunt has had spells at Leeds Rhinos, Huddersfield Giants, Castleford Tigers and earned one England cap.
He won the 2012 Grand Final with Leeds, the 2013 League Leaders’ Shield with Huddersfield and has played in three Challenge Cup Finals, but never lifted the trophy.
And he has revealed how a 25-minute stint at Mount Pleasant two years ago took a bigger toll on the him than a full 80-minute display against Salford Red Devils in the Challenge Cup five days later.
He said: “It is very tough and competitive. I remember in 2017, we played Batley on the Sunday and then Salford on the Friday in the Challenge Cup.
“Tim [Sheens] brought me off after 25 minutes against Batley to save me for the game against Salford. I played 80 minutes against Salford but I was a damn sight more sore after playing 25 minutes against Batley.
“The game is different. In Super League it is a lot faster but in the Championship it is tough.”
Lunt has hailed the mentality of part-time players as he prepares to step down from full-time rugby.
“The players are really resilient because the players are working a full-time job and then they are training.
“The mentality of these guys in the Championship is probably tougher than some players in Super League.”
Lunt has revealed that he turned down more “lucrative” offers to join the Bulldogs.
The Cumbrian-born player has signed a one-year contract at Mount Pleasant but is hoping to spend the next few seasons at the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium.
He said: “It is a 12-month deal but depending how I go, I can stay longer.
“I want to play as long as I can, I am feeling good. I have had a good break, I just need to get back into things and the way of a rugby life.
“I had offers from other clubs and Batley was probably the least lucrative in terms of salary.
“People can’t say I am going for the money because I got offered more money elsewhere.
“I have moved here because it is a great club with great people and, hopefully, I can learn from them and they can learn from me.”
Lunt already has plans in place for when he retires from rugby league. The hooker will be working part-time at Batley sponsors Signature Resin Floors and has been offered a full-time job when he hangs up his boots.
“I spoke to Paul [Clayton] at Signature Resin; he was the main reason why I signed,” said Lunt of the Signature Resin director, who is also an avid Batley fan.
“If I had to give anyone advice, it would be to have something in place for when you stop.
“Of course, you will miss playing rugby but having something means it doesn’t hit you like a sledgehammer, it just eases you in.
“I am really looking forward to it.”