Bulldogs refreshed for Rovers return

Prop forward Alex Rowe is set to make his 150th appearance for Batley Bulldogs if he features in Sunday's Championship game at Featherstone.
Prop forward Alex Rowe is set to make his 150th appearance for Batley Bulldogs if he features in Sunday's Championship game at Featherstone.

Batley Bulldogs are fully recharged and ready to face Betfred Championship high fliers Featherstone Rovers on Sunday.

Batley suffered a 40-14 defeat at home to Featherstone on March 25 but have since won three of their last four matches, including their impressive 46-22 victory over French full-timers Toulouse Olympique a fortnight ago.

Batley followed that game with a light-hearted training session, which included the players taking part in ballet lessons courtesy of Timestep Studio, but the squad were then given a few days off to recharge their batteries.

Coach Matt Diskin knows his side face a tough test against a side lying second in the table and said: “The players had some time off after a tough Easter period but they have come back physically and mentally rejuvenated.

“We are under no illusions that Sunday will be a tough game. Fev spend the money they have available to recruit some quality players.

“(Luke) Briscoe was the difference last time and then you have (Misi) Taulapapa and (Anthony) Thackeray come back as well.

“We are confident but we are under no illusions and know we will have to be on the ball if we are to come away with anything.

“Teams like Fev, London, Toulouse, Toronto and Leigh are challenging for the top four and then you have Batley but our aim is to try and shock some of these teams, which we have put ourselves in a position to do.”

Half-back Patch Walker came through Tuesday’s training session but faces a late fitness test to see if he can return following a back complaint, although Izaac Farrell deputised superbly in the win over Toulouse.

Alex Rowe has been in impressive form for the Bulldogs this season and needs just one more appearance to reach 150 for Batley.

Rowe has spent the last five years at the club having made his Bulldogs debut in a 42-10 Championship home win against Keighley Cougars on February 3 2013.

Diskin paid tribute to the big prop forward as he nears the club milestone, adding: “Rowey is playing his best rugby since I have been here.

“When he is in the right mindset, he is a real handful. He is a big lump and carries the ball strongly.

“He is out of contract at the end of the season and knows he needs to be playing well to earn another but at the moment he is doing just that.”