BATLEY will begin their 2018 Kingstone Press Championship campaign with three consecutive away games. The Bulldogs will travel to Rochdale on the opening weekend before trips to Leigh Centurions and Swinton Lions respectively.
Head coach Matt Diskin feels the difficult start to the season gives his side a chance to display their top-four credentials early on.
“It is a tough start, you have got Rochdale in the first game who we had two really tough games against last year, you then have a re-invigorated Swinton side and then you have to face Leigh who are going to be a real force next year,” said Diskin.
“So, to be honest, I don’t think we could’ve had a tougher start but I am sure my lads will rise to the challenge.
“It gives us an opportunity to put a statement out, it is a massive challenge for us and it is one that we plan to step up too.”
Matt Diskin’s men will play their first home game of the season when they host Barrow Raiders, that is followed by another home tie against Halifax. The first Heavy Woollen derby of the season will be at Mount Pleasant on Friday March 30, Batley will then host the Toronto Wolfpack just over a week later.
The Bulldogs will close the Summer Bash for a second year running after the derby against Dewsbury was confirmed to be the final game at this year’s round of fixtures played at Blackpool’s Bloomfield Road. However Diskin believes that Batley and Dewsbury should not be the teams to end next year’s Summer Bash.
He said: “We let ourselves down in that event last year it was probably one of our worst performances.
“I don’t think the Summer Bash gets the coverage or build up it deserves and if I’m honest I feel it should close out with Leigh and Toronto.
“Fortunately for us we have got that honour and we will hope to put in a good performance to end that weekend.”
Batley’s first away trip outside of England will be on Saturday June 9 when they travel to the south of France to face Toulouse. A trip to Canada will come a month later as the squad’s away game against the Toronto Wolfpack is scheduled for July 14. That game is followed by a third game against Dewsbury Rams before the Bulldogs finish the regular season with a home tie against Swinton.