PREVIEW: Batley vs Bradford

Batley Bulldogs top the Kingstone Press Championship table following their win over Workington Town and coach John Kear reflects on the best start the club have had during his tenure. “We’re playing really well and demonstrating consistently good performances but there’s still areas for improvement,” he said. “That was the heartening thing when we looked at the review and it wasn’t just me suggesting it, it was the players.

“There’s still more improvement in them as they get more and more used to playing with each because there’s half a dozen players who are completely new to the squad.

“We’re demanding more of ourselves but my job’s to keep their feet on the ground and make sure they continue to apply themselves on the training field, in team meetings and obviously on the playing field.”

“I think this Sunday is going to be a massive occasion. We’re obviously playing one of the two favourites for the title. In the first six games we play all four of the teams who were in the middle eight last year from the Championship. Obviously it gives us a great indication of where we’re at and what our aspirations can be for the future.”

Bradford Bulls are the only unbeaten side in the Championship but coach James Lowes believes they will face a stern test on Sunday at Batley. “They are a tough, tough rugby team,” he said. “John is a great bloke and he’ll have them highly motivated. He runs on energy and attitudes within the game. He’ll certainly have his side fired up for the game.

“Batley have got off to a great start this year and deservedly so. You’ve got to be on your game to beat Batley and you’ve got to be on your game to win at their place. John has got a good environment going on there.

“Leigh went to Batley at the start of the season and got beat, so we’ve got to be on our game and go there with the right attitude. We’ve got to take the weather and the slope out of contention and just go and play some rugby.”