Batley Bulldogs coach Matt Diskin admitted his side were not mentally ready to take to the field for last Sunday’s final home Championship game of the season against Featherstone Rovers.
While the club were adamant the fixture should have gone ahead, Diskin was aware some of his players have been struggling to cope following the tragic death of Archie Bruce.
Diskin, along with Batley directors and club officials, wore black armbands with Archie’s name on, while his family were in attendance at the game.
Diskin said: “It has been a tough few weeks for us. The scoreline is very embarrassing, but it reflects that we as a group weren’t emotionally or mentally ready for a game of rugby.
“We have tried to stay tight as a group and put things in place for the players to speak about the situation, but we aren’t coping too well at the moment and it’s going to take a while for that to settle.”
A minute’s applause was held before the game, while many supporters were wearing commemorative Archie Bruce shirts.
Diskin added: “His family were there and they’ll have been very proud to see that. It was nice for us to have a home game and to be able to deal with that so hopefully that might be a step moving forward.
“We as a group need to start making steps to recover from what we’ve been through. What we are going through is trivial compared to what Archie’s family are going through, but as a group it has left a scar and it will take a while for that to heal.
“As a group we prepared the best we can for it, but we weren’t quite ready mentally or emotionally. We had the week off after we returned from Toulouse and we were in training last week.
“There was a real yo-yo of emotions and in the quality of training and it’ll take a while for that to settle down.”