Diskin critical of new Shield format

Bulldogs coach Matt Diskin has critised the decision to scrap the Championship Shield semi-finals. Picture: Dec Hayes.
Bulldogs coach Matt Diskin has critised the decision to scrap the Championship Shield semi-finals. Picture: Dec Hayes.

Batley Bulldogs coach Matt Diskin has hit out at the decision to scrap the Championship Shield semi-finals this season.

Featherstone Rovers and Leigh Centurions went into the Shield stage of the competition guaranteed of finishing in the top two and they will meet in the final in October.

With Batley eight points clear of the relegation zone, it leaves the Bulldogs competing to finish in third place for additional prize money.

Speaking after last week’s 26-12 defeat at Featherstone, Diskin said: “We had a decent structure last year when you were playing for semi-final spots.

“That has been changed, you would need to ask the hierarchy above because they change the rules and regulations like they change their underwear.

“It is a tough one for those teams below as what else is there to play for?

“It gives Featherstone the chance to rest those players and from our point of view, we need to build some momentum going into pre-season.”

The Bulldogs welcome Dewsbury Rams to Fox’s Biscuits Stadium on Sunday for the fourth Heavy Woollen derby of the season.

The Rams won 20-18 at the Summer Bash and edged a 23-20 victory at Tetley’s Stadium last month, with the Bulldogs having won 18-10 in the Good Friday clash at Mount Pleasant and another closely fought contest is expected.

Diskin added: “The Dewsbury game next week is massive for us. Some of our worst performances have come against Dewsbury this year.

“If we play anything liked we did for 60 minutes (against Featherstone) we will be in a good position next week.”

Batley look set to be without Brad Day for the Rams derby after he picked up a nasty eye injury in the defeat to Featherstone.

Diskin explained: “We lost Brad Day early on, he caught a stray elbow and he has a suspected fractured eye socket.

“He lost all vision in his left eye which isn’t good as he is a quality player for us.

“I thought we dominated for long periods but we didn’t capitalise on some of the field position that we had.

“Up to 60 minutes, we were in real control of it, the body language of some of the Featherstone players showed that they were struggling and that they were in control.

“But some ill-discipline and some poor errors gave cheap field away and Featherstone capitalised on that.”