Batley Bulldogs duo Keegan Hirst and Joe Chandler have agreed new deals to extend their stay at Mount Pleasant beyond this season.
Hirst is playing some of the best rugby of his career, since re-joining Batley from Featherstone Rovers, and he was among the Bulldogs’ try scorers in last week’s narrow 25-22 defeat at Halifax.
Hirst has penned a new deal to remain at Fox’s Biscuits Stadium until the end of the 2016 season.
Chandler has also been in excellent form this term and the former Keighley and Halifax back row man has signed a new two-year deal, extending his stay at Batley until the end of 2017.
The deals will provide Batley with a timely boost going into the new Super Eights stage of the season, which begin in three weeks time.
Batley have two matches remaining in the first part of the campaign and are guaranteed to be playing in the middle eight section as they bid to pull clear of the Kingstone Press Championship danger zone.
Batley lie 10th in the table going into Sunday’s crucial clash against second-bottom Hunslet Hawks, with the sides level on 10 points.
Hunslet are smarting from last week’s 34-26 defeat to Doncaster, who gained a first win of the season, having trailed 26-6 after 50 minutes before fighting back.
Batley have been showing signs of improvement and put Doncaster to the sword with a 34-6 win a fortnight ago before giving high-flying Halifax a huge scare last week.
Batley will now aim to heap further pressure on Barry Eaton’s Hawks, who have lost their last eight Championship games.
Batley signed Bradford Bulls centre Chris Ulugia on loan until the end of the season but he suffered a shoulder injury on his Bulldogs debut.