Bulldogs look to get off the mark against Halifax

Second row Dane Manning could be in line to face his former club when Halifax visit Batley Bulldogs on Sunday.
Second row Dane Manning could be in line to face his former club when Halifax visit Batley Bulldogs on Sunday.

Batley Bulldogs will bid to bounce back from their opening day Kingstone Championship defeat in Toulouse when they welcome Halifax to Fox’s Biscuits Stadium on Sunday (kick off 3pm).

Coach Matt Diskin was disappointed with his side’s display as they slipped to a 44-6 defeat in France but knows the squad are capable of much better and will look for them to pick up a first win.

Diskin said: “Sunday is a massive game. There are no easy ones and it is a very open competition this year.

“We will draw a line under last week and myself and the coaching staff are confident in our ability. We now look to deliver a performance we know we can.

“Toulouse were clinical with the opportunities we presented them with but we were poor.

“We had trained well and with the way pre-season had gone we expected more.

“We didn’t deliver what we’ve practiced and that was the most disappointing thing from a coaching point of view. It didn’t resemble anything we’ve done in the pre-season games or the training we’ve had.”

Diskin admitted that the travel logistics of getting to France had a bearing but refused to blame that for his side’s loss.

Batley reported no new injury worries from the Toulouse trip and Diskin will again have a near full-strength squad to select from, including Castleford loan signings Will Maher and Tom Holmes.

Both loanees joined Batley following Castleford’s pre-season friendly against the Bulldogs but Diskin felt they needed a little more time to bed in.

Diskin added: “There could potentially be one or two changes this week. The Castleford lads are available but they have to earn the right to play, along with everyone else.”

Halifax were involved in a cracking opening game at home to Featherstone Rovers last Sunday but they slipped to a 32-26 defeat.

Batley second row Dane Manning has an early chance to come up against the side where he spent five seasons as he made almost 130 appearances for Halifax.

Manning made his second competitive debut for Batley against Toulouse last week and will be keen to put one over his former teammates.

Batley have also given away over 500 junior season tickets and Sunday gives a new generation of supporters chance to see the side for the first time.