BATLEY BULLDOGS have strengthened their squad with the addition of young half-back Izaac Farrell on a season long loan deal from Super League side Huddersfield Giants.
Farrell is the younger brother of Bulldogs forward Joel and although the 19-year-old recently signed his first full-time contract with Huddersfield, there will be no re-call option for his loan to Batley.
Farrell has made one appearance for the Giants first team, in last season’s 28-24 Challenge Cup defeat to Swinton Lions, a match which saw the youngster kick four goals.
He later spent time on loan at Swinton, where he made three appearances in the latter part of the Championship season, including the 62-10 defeat at Batley.
Farrell will provide adequate cover for Matt Diskin’s first choice half-back partnership of Patch Walker and Dominic Brambani and will give him valuable experience of the rigours of Championship rugby.
One player who will not be returning to Batley next season is powerful forward Will Maher.
He has instead joined Championship rivals Halifax as part of the newly formed dual-registration partnership between the two clubs.
Maher was restricted to just two substitute appearances with beaten Super League Grand Finalists Castleford last season — the 66-10 thrashing of Leeds Rhinos in March and the 48-16 defeat to Hull FC when the Tigers had already wrapped up the League Leaders Shield.
Maher spent most of the season with the Bulldogs and featured 16 times and scored one try.
Batley have confirmed two more pre-season friendlies as they build towards their opening Championship fixture away to Rochdale Hornets on Sunday February 4.
The Bulldogs will welcome Super League side Wakefield Trinity to Fox’s Biscuits Stadium on Sunday January 14 (kick off 2pm).
It is the stellar game of Batley’s pre-season programme and, of course, sees former head coach John Kear returning to Mount Pleasant in his role as head of rugby at Wakefield, along with prop forward Keegan Hirst.
Batley will visit The Keepmoat Stadium to take on League One side Doncaster on Sunday January 28 (3pm) in the other warm-up match confirmed, with the Bulldogs also visiting Dewsbury Rams for the traditional Boxing Day Challenge clash.