BULLDOGS coach John Kear will visit Blackpool’s Bloomfield Road ground for the first time this weekend when his side takes on Dewsbury as part of a major weekend of RL on the coast.
Despite his long career in rugby, Kear has never been to the Summer Bash venue but knows the stadium is a memorable place for Bulldogs supporters, after Batley’s win over Widnes there in 2010 in the Northern Rail Cup final.
The Batley boss said this weekend’s derby clash with the Rams could have a similiar atmosphere.
“It’s a great concept, it’s especially good for the players to play in front of a big crowd, it will have that cup final feel to it,” he said.
However Kear wasn’t happy with the fixtures, with the four sides below Batley in the Kingstone Press Championship going up against one another.
He added: “I am not pleased with Doncaster and Hunslet, and Workington and Whitehaven playing each other, as it is two points each for some of them sides, in an extra game.”
The ‘Dogs will have their own test to worry about as they play rivals Dewsbury and will be looking to gain revenge for the Rams’ 21-6 victory at Mount Pleasant on Good Friday, in a performance Kear said was one of the worst his team had produced.
“Dewsbury are a very good team, that’s why they’re in the league position they are,” Kear said. “They are a consistent team, and were unlucky against a good Sheffield team on Tuesday night.”
The Bulldogs’ chief said his side did have some injury concerns but kept the names close to his chest as the side across the valley may pick up on the news by reading it in The Press.
“We picked up a few bumps and bruises in the game at Widnes but we’re hoping they’ll be okay for the weekend, but I don’t want to disclose them to a local paper,” he added.
One player that will feature in Blackpool is Alex Rowe (pictured), and the forward hopes the seaside could be the venue where his team get back on track.
“Sunday’s game is massive, it could really turn our year around,” he said.
“We’re aiming to finish as high as we can over the remainder of the season. Ideally we’d like to aim for the top six to finish as strong as we can before the season splits.
“Magic Weekend in Super League has been really successful over the last few years so hopefully the Summer Bash can follow in its path.
“The lads are looking forward to a day out in Blackpool. Hopefully it’ll be a good day out for us to leave with the two points.”
Rowe managed to get four points of his own when he scored at the weekend in the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup 26-22 defeat to Widnes Vikings, and his coach feels the Bulldogs produced their best display so far this season.
“I was impressed by the quality of our defence,” said Kear. “We were committed and organised, and we competed with a Super League side.”