Batley Bulldogs coach John Kear praised his side’s desire and heart to edge out Dewsbury Rams in a keenly fought derby last Sunday.
Victory saw Batley move back into the top four in the Kingstone Press Championship with four matches of the regular season remaining, while Dewsbury slip to eighth.
Speaking after his side’s 18-16 victory, Kear said: “That was a victory for heart and desire because there was so much adversity around the players prior to the game.
“We lost Alistair Leak with a back injury the day before we played and we were down to one hooker.
“We get Wayne Reittie sent to the sin bin and then had Jimmy Davey cleaned out and was hobbling about at the end but they’ve still come out with the victory and I’m immensely proud of them.
“That is what you have to do if you want to get into play-offs.
“Other teams will come and have a pop at you but you have to be strong enough to deal with that.”
Batley kept Dewsbury at bay late in the game after they were reduced to 12 men following Reittie’s sin-binning and Kear added: “That was real bulldog spirit and I was delighted to see that.
“We have been able to play with the ball all season but I think defensively we have upped the ante in the last few weeks and for those last 10 minutes when we were down to 12 men and we had people hobbling and fatigued, they still found a way to make that extra tackle or drop on a loose ball or chase the kick.”
Rams counterpart Glenn Morrison was left to rue missed chances, which cost his side chance of recording victory.
Morrison said: “The effort was there and it could have gone either way.
“We had plenty of opportunities to win the game but just couldn’t get it done.
“Batley are where they are because they have managed to get the wins in the close games, while we are because we have had the close games which we have not won.
“Its disappointing that after the effort from the boys we haven’t got any points from the game.
“Our defence was pretty solid, but there was a 20 minute spell before half-time when they got on top when there big boys got a roll on down the slope and we couldn’t peg them back.
“They scored a couple of soft tried before half-time and in the end that is what has cost us.”