Backline is complete – Diskin

Backline is complete – Diskin

BATLEY BULLDOGS coach Matt Diskin says that the club is “just about done” in recruiting for their back division next year.

Utility player Niall Walker became the latest signing last week, and Diskin is pleased to have brought in the Keighley player to add to the competition for places within the squad.

“He gives us some real depth and quality of competition right across the three-quarter line,” he said.

“He’s got the ability to play wing, centre and full-back, and he’s a very talented young player, who’s just had a few injuries over the last couple of years.

“So he comes in and adds some real quality depth to our squad, and it makes sure we’ve got competition in all places.

“For me he’s more natural as a centre, but he’s equally comfortable at full-back or wing.

“When you look at this year and the injuries we’ve had, and people dropping in and out of form, I think he’ll be a great acquisition.”

With Dave Scott the established full-back, Walker will battle next season with Sam Smeaton, Lewis Galbraith and on-loan Huddersfield Giant Sam Wood for a centre spot.

Wayne Reittie, Johnny Campbell and Keenen Tomlinson have all penned new deals for 2019, with Iliess Macani signed from Sheffield Eagles as a fourth wing option.

In the halves, Rochdale Hornets’ Danny Yates will challenge the pair of Louis Jouffret and Dominic Brambani, who both finished the season impressively for Batley.

“I think in the backs now we’re just about done now,” said Diskin.

“We’ve got some real quality, and some real depth, strike and pace on the edges, which is what we’ve been wanting.”

The coach says that his focus now turns to the forward pack, where Brad Day and James Harrison are significant departures as they head to Championship rivals Featherstone Rovers.

James Davey is on his way to Sheffield, where he is expected to be joined by Joel Farrell and centre Jason Crookes, while Alex Rowe has moved on to Newcastle Thunder.

“Where we’re lacking in recruitment at the moment is middles,” Diskin acknowledged.

“We’re looking for a couple of middles and we are working hard on that at the moment, but we’re just waiting for things to fall into place.

“That’ll be active over the next four to six weeks, so prior to pre-season starting we should be finished in that area also.”

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