Batley Bulldogs are battle hardened by cup exploits warns Matt Diskin

Dane Manning of Batley Bulldogs tackles Bradford Bulls' Jonathan Margrin during the Yorkshire Cup final.
Dane Manning of Batley Bulldogs tackles Bradford Bulls' Jonathan Margrin during the Yorkshire Cup final.
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THEY DIDN’T get their hands on the trophy, but Batley Bulldogs boss Matt Diskin reckons his team were the better side in the Yorkshire Cup decider.

Batley were pipped 14-12 by Bradford Bulls in the final of the pre-season tournament two days ago.

Batley head coach Matt Diskin.

Batley head coach Matt Diskin.

Diskin insisted: “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.”

He said: “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.”

Bulldogs begin their Betfred Championship campaign at home to Barrow Raiders on Sunday, February 3 and Diskin stressed that is the bigger picture.

Matt Diskin.

Matt Diskin.

“We have shown we are in a really good position for the season,” he said.

“It will be one of the toughest Championship seasons yet and we were against a full-time Bradford team who’ve got the luxury of more staff on the sidelines than we have players on the field.

“There was an interception try and a dubious pass at the end on the fifth play and other than that they didn’t really scratch the surface of us.

“We were really good defensively in all aspects of the game.

“We had some opportunities we didn’t take so we’ve got to be a bit more composed and clinical when we’ve got the ball in hand.

“We are missing too many opportunities and against the better sides you can’t do that.

“That’s the biggest area out of the Yorkshire Cup, but the rest of it I am happy with where we’re at.

“We’re looking very strong defensively, we’re battle-hardened and ready for that game against Barrow. We can’t wait for the season to start.”

Bulldogs had three players sin-binned, to Bulls’ two and were hammered 11-3 in the second-half penalty count.

Diskin reflected: “It is easy to blame the referee and I will do for part of it; he has to be better, but we’ve got to be better as well.”