Rochdale v Batley Bulldogs: Postponement gives Bulldogs’ players an extra week to recover

Matt Diskin.
Matt Diskin.
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BATLEY BULLDOGS’ Betfred Championship opener at Rochdale Hornets on Sunday has been called off.

A statement from the Rugby Football League said the game has been “postponed due to “weather damage to the pitch”.

The news is a blow for Batley, who were unbeaten in pre-season and had been keen to make a strong start this weekend.

“It is what we have been gearing up for,” said Diskin.

“We’ve been talking about making slight improvements each week and we have done that.

“There’s still plenty of improvement to come, but the start is massive – it is not the be-all and end-all, but it is important to get off to a good start and build some momentum early on and see where that takes you.”

The postponement will give Joe Chandler extra time for recover from concussion.

Sam Smeaton and Brad Day are getting close to returning from long-term injury.

Diskin said: “We’ve got through pre-season all right.

“Sam Smeaton has started running and Brad Day is fully training, but we’re still waiting for a scan on Tom Lillycrop’s shoulder injury.

Meanwhile, former Batley forward Alex Walmsley has ended speculation over a move to Australia by signing a new four-year contract with St Helens.

“It is a massive bonus for our club to have Alex re-sign on the eve of the 2018 season,” said Saints coach Justin Holbrook.