Rival coaches in upbeat mood ahead of Championship kick-off

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RIVAL COACHES Glenn Morrison and Matt Diskin are in upbeat mood ahead of the new Kingstone Press Championship season, despite contrasting results in warm-up games.

Morrison’s Rams lost their four pre-season matches, including a 36-4 defeat at Super League Leigh Centurions two days ago.

But Morrison saw some positives in the way his team competed against last year’s Championship table-toppers, particularly in the first half.

“We only had 17 fit players and we had a few young ones in there and a few boys playing out of position, but they really stepped up,” he said.

“They had a strong side out and it was 10-4 at half-time, which was pretty spot on. We completed at 90 per cent in the first half.

“In the first 25 minutes of the second half we completed at 33 per cent and they scored some tries on us.

“We pulled it back in the last few minutes, but not enough – but it was a confidence-boosting performance for us.”

Morrison said he hopes “four or five” players who missed the Leigh game due to injury or illness will be available for Sunday’s league opener at Rochdale Hornets.

Bulldogs made it three pre-season wins from three with a 38-12 defeat of a mainly under-19s Castleford Tigers side.

Batley take part in the Championship’s opening game, at Toulouse on Saturday, and Diskin said: “You can’t read too much into results in friendlies, ours or any other team’s, but one positive we can take from it is confidence.

“We are transferring what we’ve practiced in training on to the playing field.”

Diskin added: “We’ve thrown a lot of new things at the players and they’ve handled them really well. They have gradually got better each game and we are looking forward to the season now and seeing how we fare in more intense competition.”