strong hawks to give bulldogs a stern test

Batley's James Brown attempts to force his way through the tough tackling Workington defence last Sunday.
Batley's James Brown attempts to force his way through the tough tackling Workington defence last Sunday.

Batley Bulldogs make the short trip to Hunslet on Sunday (kick off 3pm) wary of the threat Barry Eaton’s new-look Hawks will pose.

The Hawks have strengthened their squad after winning promotion last season and pushed Featherstone Rovers close in their opening Championship game on Monday.

Batley coach John Kear was at Wakefield’s Rapid Solicitors Stadium to see the Hawks first hand and knows his side will have to be at their best if they are to register a second straight win.

Kear said: “Hunslet’s performance at Featherstone has emphasised the quality of the competition this time.

“For 60 minutes it was anybody’s game and it was only in the last 10 minutes that Featherstone pulled away.

“They are a new team. Andy Kain is a very good signing, then they have Vinny Finigan and Luke Briscoe from Leeds and they are a much stronger side than the Championship One promotion team.

“I’m pretty certain we will be highlighted in red as a game the Hawks feel they can win.

“That is not an insult but realistic on what they will be targeting.”

Batley have no new major injury worries following last Sunday’s 30-6 victory over Workington Town, although a couple of players picked up slight knocks in what was a tough, physical encounter.

Batley’s coaching team of Kear, Craig Lingard and Mark Moxon may decide to rotate the squad to face Hunslet and give players who missed out against Workington a chance.

Kear added: “We know what the players who have been at Batley for a season or two are capable of, but not so much some of the new players and the only way we will find out is by playing them.”

Prop Keegan Hirst is ahead of schedule as he recovers from injury but is unlikely to be risked against the Hawks.