Batley Bulldogs coach John Kear believes his side can build on last Sunday’s magnificent effort in pushing Bradford Bulls all the way.
The Bulldogs threatened a major upset as they deservedly led 19-14 going into the latter stages only for two late Bulls tries to deny them a famous win.
Kear was delighted with the team’s effort but knows his side have set a benchmark for future performances.
Speaking after last Sunday’s game, Kear said: “The players were magnificent and can take a lot of confidence and a lot of self belief from what they did.
“We didn’t get the two competition points, which we are disappointed about, but what we have got is a great deal of confidence and self belief that we can compete with anyone in this division and we need to maintain that standard.
“The players themselves have set that standard and it is up to them to maintain it consistently throughout the season.”
Batley were without first choice scrum-half Scott Leatherbarrow, who broke a bone in his hand at Sheffield the previous week, but Anthony Nicholson stepped up to the mark admirably.
Kear added: “Alistair Leak played 80 minutes at hooker and I thought he was absolutely magnificent, Anthony Nicholson was thrown into a half-back spot and he looked great in training and was great in the field of play and there are loads of players who can take positives.
“Cain Southernwood was great, both our half-backs were, after we were robbed of Luke Blake and Scott Leatherbarrow (through injury) which prevented any rotation and I thought they stood up.
“They have done themselves, the group as a team and a club as whole proud.”
An official crowd of 2,223 watched the game and although the majority were from Bradford, Kear hopes his side’s performance will help attract new Bulldogs fans to future games.
Kear added: “It shows what a great competition and a great standard the Championship is.
“One of our little goals was that we wanted to have a big crowd and put on a show and make people want to come back and if there were any new spectators there, surely to goodness they will want to come back and support the club and see entertainment like that.”
Batley take a break from Championship action this week as they make the short trip to Wakefield to tackle amateurs Normanton in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup on Saturday.
Batley travel to Doncaster on Sunday March 29 in their next league fixture, while the Bulldogs’ next home game is the Heavy Woollen derby against Dewsbury Rams on Good Friday when the club will be hoping for another decent crowd.