THE END of the season has come at the wrong time for Batley Bulldogs.
After an inconsistent campaign, including a nine-game losing run between May and July, coach Matt Diskin’s team have hit form during the Betfred Championship Shield.
They lost their opening fixture at Featherstone Rovers, but will go into tomorrow’s final game at home to Swinton Lions (3pm) on a five-match winning streak.
That includes a stunning 30-16 victory at second-placed Leigh Centurions last Sunday and Diskin admitted: “It is a shame the season is ending.”
He said: “We’ve started to deliver some really good, attractive performances. We’ve had some good defensive displays and been playing some flamboyant attacking rugby. It’s a shame it has come this late, but we can roll into pre-season full of confidence knowing what we are doing is clicking and we have got plenty to work on.”
Swinton are second from bottom, above Rochdale Hornets – who face a winnable game at Sheffield Eagles tomorrow – on points difference. The last-placed side will go into a sudden-death relegation/promotion match against the losers from the League One play-off final.
Diskin reckons Swinton’s precarious situation makes tomorrow’s finale more dangerous for his men as they aim to end the year on a positive note.
“It’s a tough task for us,” Diskin said. “We’ve nothing to play for, seventh spot is secure, so we have to make sure we’re not already on holiday.
“Swinton are fighting for their lives and they are a dangerous team. They play really good rugby league and with the pressure they are under to get a result it will be a very tough game for us, but we want to roll forward with some momentum and finish on a high.
“We have got people moving to pastures new and we want to send them off on a good note, in high spirits and with good memories.”
Players already recruited for 2019 include Danny Yates (from Rochdale), Toby Everett (Dewsbury), Iliess Macani (Sheffield) and Jack Downs (Hull) and Diskin said more signings are planned.