TOMORROW WILL be the phony war before the real battle for Batley Bulldogs.
Batley close their Kingstone Press Championship Shield campaign at home to Sheffield Eagles (3pm), a week before the teams meet again on the same ground in a knockout semi-final.
Bulldogs are second in the Shield table, five points and one place ahead of Sheffield and tomorrow’s victors will take a psychological advantage into next week’s tie, but Batley coach Matt Diskin admitted his main concern is fielding a competitive team. “I am just trying to get a fit 17 together,” Diskin said.
“If we accomplish that it will be one achievement this week.
“We have a lot of people carrying bumps and bruises – Tom Lillycrop and Brad Day are out, Patch Walker and Dom Brambani are carrying knocks, a couple of my centres and back-rowers are touch and go.
“We have had a really good year managing people’s bodies, but we have lost some people through contact injuries and that leaves our squad thin at the moment.”
Diskin said he will have no opportunity to rest fit players tomorrow and may have to risk some who are not 100 per cent.
“Next week will be the same,” he predicted.
“It is a test of character with some of the adversity we are facing at the moment.
“Hopefully it will pull us together and galvanise us for the semi-final.”