Batley Bulldogs coach Craig Lingard says Featherstone Rovers will have a very different side to deal with in the Betfred Challenge Cup second round from they beat easily in a friendly two weeks ago.
The Bulldogs were defeated 36-16 in their trip to Featherstone’s Millennium Stadium on 13 March but return there on Saturday for a cup tie which is being shown live and exclusive for free on The Sportsman.
And Lingard insists that his side quickly learned the lessons from that loss, with last week’s 19-6 win at Halifax Panthers in the first round proof that they will take a much-improved side back to face James Webster’s team this weekend.
“As a coaching group we held our hands up last week at training and said that we’d maybe underprepared them a bit in terms of the contact area,” Lingard told The Sportsman of the fall-out from that friendly loss. “We thought the ruck speed would be a lot quicker than it actually was so we’d not really done much in terms of the contact and slowing the ruck down, we’d not really focused on that at all during pre-season.
“We changed tack last week and gave the players a little more contact and just in that one week we saw a significant improvement based on the previous week at Featherstone. That was the pleasing thing, just from something we’d worked on for that week. The challenge now for the middle units is to make that a consistent thing week on week now.”
Saturday’s clash doubles up as a quarter-final for the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup, the final of which will be played as a curtain-raiser to the Betfred Challenge Cup final at Wembley on 17 July. And Lingard says that the lure of the national stadium will provide a motivating factor for his Batley side ahead of the match.
“We’ll certainly play on the fact that we’re just two games away from Wembley,” he added. “It’s not every year that you get the opportunity to potentially play at Wembley so we know that we’re 80 minutes away from the semi-final but we’re confident after last week, it’s given us a little bit more belief that maybe wasn’t there the previous couple of weeks. We’re going to come out and give it a really good bash.”
Image courtesy of SWPix.com