WE WILL give it our best shot – that’s the pledge from Cup king John Kear as he attempts to mastermind another massive shock tonight.
Kear’s Batley Bulldogs face Catalans Dragons in the sixth round of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup at Mount Pleasant (8pm).
On form it should be a comfortable win for the visitors, who are second in First Utility Super League, but Kear insisted Batley – fifth in the Kingstone Press Championship – will go into the tie with no fear.
“We are going to turn our best team out, give it our best shot and see what occurs from that,” said Kear, who coached Sheffield Eagles to Challenge Cup success in 1998 and repeated the feat with Hull seven years later.
“We are confident we can play very well and we can challenge them. We will see if by playing well and doing the processes of rugby league we can get a result.”
Catalans have been playing well on their travels this year and Kear added: “They have been in great form.
“We are playing a team who are near the top of the elite competition so it is a great challenge, but it is one we are happy to embrace and I think it will be a great occasion.”
Dragons coach Laurent Frayssinous is taking no chances. Star stand-off Todd Carney remains on the casualty list, but he will field all his available big guns, with giant forward Dave Taylor back in contention after missing last week’s defeat at Hull.
Catalans’ huge pack will be hard to hold, running down Batley’s infamous slope and Kear acknowledged: “It is a big job for our forwards, matching their physicality and aggression.
“It’s a big job for the three-quarters as well, because they have plenty of pace and finishing power out wide, but we want to test ourselves against the best.”
Kear will be wired-up as part of Sky Sports’ live coverage and will chat to the commentary team during the game, as well as having his team talk broadcast at half-time.
“It is an interesting experiment,” he said. “We will see how it pans out, but I will have to mind my language.”
Wayne Reittie, Chris Ulugia, Shaun Squires, Alex Rowe and James Brown are all back in contention for Batley.