Batley to announce major Super League partnership...
BATLEY BULLDOGS are on the verge of announcing a ground-breaking partnership which delighted head coach John Kear believes will leave rival Co-operative Championship clubs looking on in envy.
It is understood the Bulldogs will confirm a deal with a local Super League side over the coming days, but the Mount Pleasant outfit’s plans will blow those of their rivals “out of the water”, according to the former England boss.
Rivals Dewsbury Rams recently unveiled their link-up with Bradford Bulls, which is set to see players from the top flight ply their trade in the sport’s second tier while, in return, some of the Championship’s best could gain their chance on rugby league’s big domestic stage.
A number of other part-time clubs have followed suit, Hunslet Hawks tying the knot with Super league champions Leeds Rhinos, though Kear, who wishes to make full use of his 25-man squad in 2013, insists Batley’s agreement will be different and far superior, based mainly on player welfare.
“I am not a fan of the feeder or takeover concept, but the deal we have in place will blow all other partnerships out of the water,” revealed Kear.
“Our agreement, if it comes off, with one of the Super League clubs is based on player welfare and, in my opinion, will leave the other Championship clubs startled. It is set to be truly fantastic for all concerned.
“We have absolutely no interest in becoming a production line for a bigger club and I have fully assessed the benefits which other clubs are, or in some cases are not, getting as part of similar agreements. Ours, however, will certainly stand out from the crowd.”
Kear put the finishing touches to his new-look squad on Tuesday following the capture of dual-registration forward Daniel Fleming.
Fleming, who trained with the Bulldogs last season before sustaining an injury, arrives, on loan, from Castleford Tigers.
And, having been selected to appear for Wales during the up-and-coming Autumn International Series Kear says the 20-year-old will act as an interchangeable replacement for prop Alex Walmsley, who is preparing for life in Super League with St Helens.
“We are all done now and the signing of Daniel really does put the icing on the cake for us,” Kear told The Press.
“He’s an exceptionally good player, who boasts plenty of power an aggression, and for next year, I’ll view him and Alex Walmsley as one player.
“If Alex is unavailable then it is likely Daniel will be available and vice-versa.
“Daniel is more than ready to prove himself and I see him as a Championship player.
We desperately wanted to have everyone in place before November 7, the start of pre-season training, and that has been achieved.
“We are a long way ahead of where we were this time last year, which is pleasing.
“There are 25 great players in place and with dual-registration slots still wide open, we are in great shape.
“As the season wears on, and injuries come or players choose to leave due to perhaps a lack of game time, you need a good amount of depth. I feel we have that in abundance.”
Meanwhile, chief executive Paul Harrison will meet with officials from backers Morley Waste Traders on Tuesday as the club look to secure their support for another 12 months.
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