AN EMOTIONAL Matt Diskin admits Batley Bulldogs’ are struggling to cope with the recent death of young player Archie Bruce.
Bulldogs suffered a 64-0 home defeat by Featherstone Rovers in their first game since Bruce’s sudden death, aged 20, following his debut away to Toulouse Olympique two weeks ago. Diskin was “embarrassed” by the result, but felt it wasn’t surprising in the circumstances.
He said: “It has been a tough few weeks for us. The scoreline is very embarrassing, but it reflects that we, as a group, weren’t emotionally or mentally ready for a game of rugby.
“We have tried to stay tight as a group and put things in place for the players to speak about the situation, but we aren’t coping too well at the moment and it’s going to take a while for that to settle.”
Tributes were paid to Bruce before the game and Diskin said: “His family were there and they’ll have been very proud to see that.
“It was nice for us to have a home game and to be able to deal with that so, hopefully, that might be a step moving forward.
“We, as a group, need to start making steps to recover from what we’ve been through.
“What we are going through is trivial compared to what Archie’s family are going through but, as a group, it has left a scar and it will take a while for that to heal.”
Diskin had no issues with the game two days ago going ahead.
He said: “It needed to, the fixtures are there and they need to be fulfilled. As a group, we prepared the best we can for it, but we weren’t quite ready mentally or emotionally.
“We had the week off after we returned from Toulouse and we were in training last week.
“There was a real yo-yo of emotions and in the quality of training and it’ll take a while for that to settle down.”