Batley Bulldogs coach Matt Diskin admitted he was proud of his players, who gave their all in a pulsating Yorkshire Cup final only to be edged out by Bradford Bulls.
Diskin also believes the Yorkshire Cup campaign will ensure his squad are fully prepared for the rigours of a tough Championship campaign.
Speaking after last Sunday’s 14-12 defeat, Diskin said: “From a neutral’s point of view it was a very good game of rugby and I think the losing team were the better team.
“I am very proud of my players, playing the majority of the second half with 12 men.
“Bradford really struggled to break us down. They broke us down with a dubious pass at the end and I am gutted for my players because they put everything into that and they’ve come out second-best when in fact they were the better team on the day.
“There was an interception try and a dubious pass at the end on the fifth play and other than they didn’t really scratch the surface of us.”
Batley were on the wrong end of an 11-3 penalty count in the second half but Diskin admitted his side also have areas which they can improve on.
He added: “Its easy to blame the referee and I will do for part of it but we also have to be better.
“The Lewis Galbraith sin-binning for mouthing at the touch judge 100 per cent shouldn’t be happening but the Toby Everett one was a really poor call which changed the momentum of the second half.
“I’m really proud of my players and they were unlucky to come out second best. We had some opportunities which we didn’t take and we have got to be a bit more clinical.
“We are missing too many opportunities and against the better sides you can’t afford to do that.
“The boys have worked hard in pre-season and these games have been at a level of intensity which they are not used to in pre-season.
“We are quietly confident about the ability this group has and how hard they work for each other.”