MASTER MOTIVATOR John Kear reckons steering Batley Bulldogs into the First Utility Qualifiers is an achievement to match winning the Challenge Cup.
Kear, a Cup winner with Sheffield Eagles and Hull, in 1998 and 2005, also defied the odds to keep Wakefield Trinity Wildcats in Super League in 2006. Batley confirmed third place in the Kingstone Press Championship with a 62-24 win at Swinton Lions two days ago and are now looking forward to a trip to Leeds Rhinos in the middle-eights.
“It is up there,” Kear said when asked how that compares with his previous feats. “This is over the course of 23 rounds. We have finished above two full-time teams and we’ve been competitive with everyone – and we’ve beaten everyone.
“Only Featherstone did the double over us, but we beat them in the Challenge Cup.”
Bulldogs will have home games against Featherstone, Super League neighbours Huddersfield Giants and Salford Red Devils. As well as Leeds, they will travel to Super League Hull KR and the Championship’s top two of Leigh Centurions and London Broncos.
Swinton beat Bulldogs at Mount Pleasant earlier in the season and Kear was delighted with the way his team handled Sunday’s game. He said: “We played some really good stuff. We were very near perfect and that’s good to see.”