Batley Bulldogs have signed young half-back Izaac Farrell on a year-long loan deal from Huddersfield Giants, in an agreement that has no option for a recall.
The 19-year-old had come through the academy at Huddersfield and signed his first full-time contract with the Super League club earlier this year.
Farrell, who is the younger brother of current Batley forward Joel Farrell, also spent time on loan at Swinton Lions last season.
Head coach Matt Diskin is excited to have the youngster on board for 2018.
“What Izaac does is give us something different, he has got great footwork, great speed and agility and he adds some youth, he will be able to change games and pull us in a different direction,” said Diskin.
“He is someone we need in order to avoid becoming too one-dimensional.
“He has played against us for Swinton and he was very good with the ball in hand, we know what he is capable of.
“Izaac also adds some real depth to the half-back position, however, I am making no bones about it but when Patch Walker and Dom Brambani are fit they are my best half-back partnership.
“It is a great signing for the year but it still doesn’t solve our long-term problem at half-back.
“From the club’s point of view we need to make sure we add people at half-back that can help us in the long term and that is proving very difficult at the moment.”
The Bulldogs have returned to pre-season training this week after finishing the 2017 season with defeat against Sheffield in the Championship Shield semi-final.
Diskin believes his team perform better without any expectation and he wants to give his players a few weeks to settle before he begins to set targets.
He said: “We have been doing some testing and have had some meetings to see where the boys are coming back from the off season.
“The team have earned some rest, we want to see where they are and where they need to be by the end of pre-season.
“Last year we set an ambitious goal of making the top four and we fell short of that.
“I don’t think we handled that expectation well, the group thrives on being the underdog.
“I believe we can be a very very good side in this division and I need all the players to buy into what we want to do and I’m sure they will.”
Meanwhile, Batley have confirmed two more pre-season fixtures this week with games against Wakefield Trinity and Doncaster RLFC.
The clash against Wakefield will see John Kear and Keegan Hirst return to Mount Pleasant on January 14. The Bulldogs will then travel to Doncaster on January 28.