FORMER LEEDS Rhinos junior Wayne Reittie says playing at Headingley in the middle-eights will be a “dream come true”.
Batley Bulldogs will make the short trip on Friday buoyed by their 11-10 win over Featherstone Rovers two days ago.
That lifted coach John Kear’s team off the foot of the First Utility Qualifiers table and Reittie, who scored both their tries, insisted the part-timers are determined to enjoy their hard-earned night on the big stage.
Leeds’ 10,000 season ticket holders will ensure Friday is the biggest gate most of the Batley team have played in front of and Reittie reckons the unique atmosphere will inspire the Kingstone Press Championship visitors.
“It will be something different,” said the 28-year-old, who is in his second spell at Mount Pleasant. “I am really excited about it. We know what a big club Leeds are and how much they’ve achieved. I was there as a junior, things didn’t work out and I moved on, so to go back there and play against them, it will be like a dream come true.”
The victory over Featherstone was Batley’s first in the Qualifiers and came after they had conceded more than 50 points in each of their previous three games.
“It was good, we were dogged and we worked hard for each other,” Reittie said. “We did the little things right and it is nice to go to Leeds on the back of a win. We will go there and enjoy it, because, at the end of the day, people would give their right arm to play there.
“Obviously we will go there and do our best, but I think we need to go there and enjoy the occasion as much as anything.”
Leeds will go into Friday’s game knowing a win should secure their place in Super League next year, but Batley have an incentive to stay ahead of Featherstone over the final three games of the campaign.
The team finishing seventh will receive £50,000 more in prize money than the eighth-placed side and Reittie admitted that is a big motivation.
“We’ve been off it for the last couple of weeks,” the winger said of Bulldogs’ opening games in the middle-eights.
“We’ve been there or thereabouts, but we haven’t been consistent.
“On Sunday we showed how hard we work for each other and the whole environment here and what we are all about.
“It wouldn’t have been good to go through the Qualifiers without a win, but it was just great to get the win and it stands us in good stead for Friday.
“Everyone’s confident, we are all smiles and it was good to sing the winning song. We hadn’t sung it for a few weeks.”
Bulldogs’ John Kear is in the running to be named Championship coach of the year, with half-back Dominic Brambani nominated for the player honour.