UPSET-KING John Kear has saluted his Batley Bulldogs side for their “gutsy” 24-22 win over Kingstone Press Championship title favourites Leigh Centurions.
Owner Derek Beaumont had predicted Leigh could go through the year unbeaten, but they fell at the first hurdle, and Kear reflected: “I think gutsy is probably the best word to describe it.
“We had numerous injuries during the course of the game. Sam Scott, Adam Gledhill (shoulder) and James Davey (hamstring) all couldn’t return, and when you couple that with the fact we were playing against a high-quality team who dominated possession for 20 minutes in the second half, it says plenty about the sterling effort they put in to find a way to win.
“It feels like beating a Super League team and it inspired the players.
“That was one of the reasons the first fixture didn’t hold any fears for us.
“The players were excited by the challenge of playing against Rangi Chase, Harrison Hansen and Remi Maitua who were all making their debut against us. It made them raise their game and raise their work-rate.”
Batley face another huge challenge on Sunday, at Featherstone.
Kear warned: “It’s very tough. They have some quality players and I think Rovers are stronger this year than last.”