Batley Bulldogs coach Matt Diskin calls for ‘smart’ response to cup disappointment

Batley coach Matt Diskin.
Batley coach Matt Diskin.
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Now the prospect of a Wembley appearance has gone, Batley Bulldogs have to focus on staying in the Betfred Championship.

Bulldogs were beaten 18-2 at Sheffield Eagles in an 1895 Cup semi-final two days ago.

Falling 80 minutes short of Wembley was a painful experience for a squad who may never get as close again.

To add to Batley’s woes, neighbours Dewsbury Rams’ win at Rochdale Hornets dropped Bulldogs to 10th in the Championship, four points clear of the relegation zone with five games to play.

They visit Rochdale on Sunday followed a week later by a home derby with Dewsbury and – after meetings with play-offs contenders Toulouse Olympique and Featherstone Rovers – finish at home to second-bottom Barrow Raiders. It is in their hands and coach Matt Diskin said: “We have got some very important fixtures coming up, the next two weeks are massive for us.

“If we get two wins there I think we’ll secure our future, but if we show the lack of respect we are doing at the moment for the ball it will be a tough couple of weeks for us.

“We have got to get back to it, ride the emotional upset and get back to the drawing board for Sunday.”

Bulldogs were outstanding in defence against Sheffield, but put themselves under constant pressure through a series of unforced handling errors.

That has been the story of their season and Diskin admitted: “It’s not down to structures or systems and, to be honest, as a coach I would prefer it if it was.

“If it’s structures and systems, as a coach you can control that.

“You can have all the core skill in the world but, if the players drop the ball or throw a loose pass, I can’t control what’s going on between their ears.

“I am not a psychologist, unfortunately and, to be fair, that’s probably what this group needs.

“It is an individual thing, what is going on between the ears and, at the moment, we are pretty weak in that area.

“I can never fault their effort, but they aren’t the smartest group – they lack game intelligence and concentration.”