BATLEY BULLDOGS coach John Kear has urged his players to ‘up their game’ as they prepare for their first home game of the Super 8s Qualifiers against Huddersfield Giants on Sunday (3pm).
Batley suffered a 60-point thrashing at the hands of London Broncos last time out, leading critics to claim the Bulldogs players feel their season is already over, following qualification for the lucrative Qualifiers.
To atone for the defeat the Bulldogs players have since offered to fund their fans travel to next month’s game with Leigh.
“I think it’s fair to say the players have taken their foot of the gas after finishing third in the Championship,” admitted Kear.
“To be fair it was a huge achievement and they put a lot of effort in to make it happen, but I also know they’re not happy to lose by embarrassing margins, which was sadly the case against London.
“I want to see a response from the players starting this weekend. I’m not happy seeing my players perform like they did in London, nothing went right in that game and it’s simply not good enough.
“I told the players straight after the Swinton game, when we secured a top four finish, that we must not think our season was over.
“I told the squad we still had plenty to play for and they were on board, but in the last two games they’ve proved they clearly didn’t listen.”
A drop in intensity and lapses in concentration have been the order of the day in Batley’s first two Qualifiers matches and Kear has issued a warning to his players ahead of Huddersfield’s visit to Mount Pleasant.
He said: “The players either adapt quickly to their new surroundings in the Qualifiers, or face more embarrassing defeats.
“If we’re not careful the reputation we’ve earned this year of being a team hard to beat will mean nothing.
“Defensively we’ve been weak of late, we’ve been averaging roughly a try every seven minutes.
“So we obviously need to do a lot of work in that department and then hopefully we’ll start causing teams some problems.”
The Bulldogs have no fresh injury concerns ahead of their clash with the Giants, which will see the Mount Pleasant side play in an all pink kit for the third year running in aid of breast cancer awareness.
Kear received a boost this week with the news that Pat Walker and Shaun Ainscough will both be fit to feature against Huddersfield.