BATLEY coach Matt Diskin says that his players are “gutted” to have missed out on the chance to visit Toronto again this season.
The Bulldogs face the Canadian side this weekend, but the fixture has been moved to KCOM Craven Park in Hull.
The climate in Toronto has meant that the Wolfpack are unable to stage any home matches at their Lamport Stadium until April, and they have been taking games ‘on the road’ instead.
Batley face the Wolfpack on Sunday (kick-off 5pm) as the second part of a double header, alongside Hull KR’s Super League clash with Catalans Dragons at 3pm.
However, the Bulldogs coach says that his group are disappointed to miss out on another trip to Canada.
“For the part-time boys it’s something they rarely get to experience, and we’re a bit gutted we’re missing out on that this year,” said Diskin.
“It’s a tough division, playing against full-time teams and whatever else, and the boys need some reward for that and last year in Toronto they had the chance of a life experience. So to miss out on that, the boys are gutted.”
It will certainly be a tough fixture for Batley, with the Wolfpack sitting top of the Championship table and comfortably the favourites for promotion to the top flight.
However, they were defeated by Toulouse last week and have yet to hit top form, notably coming very close to a loss at Dewsbury as well.
Despite the gulf in finances between the respective clubs, Diskin remains hopeful.
“We go into every game with hope,” he said. “Let’s be realistic, it will take massive turn up in the formbooks for us to get anything out of it, but we’ll go and try our damnedest.
“Toronto are coming off a loss against Toulouse. For me they shouldn’t have lost a game all year, so for them to lose away at Toulouse is a really disappointing result.
“For us, we’re really up against it next week. We’ll get to training, we’ll work hard as we always do, there’s not a lack of effort.
“There’s just a mental block for some reason and that’s why it’s not transferring from the training field to the playing field and it’s something we’ll work hard as a group to address.”
That was the complaint Diskin had following last week’s 16-6 home defeat to Bradford Bulls, as Batley fell to a fifth defeat in six league matches this season.
“I’ve got to find the right selection that’s going to buy into what we’re doing on the training field, because at the moment we’re training like Tarzan and playing like Jane and it’s poor,” he admitted.
“I thought it was a very poor game of rugby; I thought it was refereed very poorly. I thought the ruck area was slow for both teams and the referee showed no courage to referee that area at all, which killed us because we want to play with some pace and some speed.
“We were disappointed with that, but in another two games of rugby we wouldn’t have scored any more tries. We were really poor and blunt with the ball.
“It’s easy to say that Bradford defended really well but they didn’t, we were poor in attack.
“We didn’t do enough with the ball in hand. We were one-dimensional. We put two plays on in the entire game that resembled anything like what we’d practiced this week. What we dished up with the ball in hand was terrible.”
Diskin also emphasised that changes to team selection will be made, after five players were dropped from the side against Bradford.
“A few players had a poor game against Sheffield (the week before), so when they play that poor there’s some accountability,” he said.
“Dane Manning’s discipline was woeful last week and that’s why he didn’t play. Wayne Reittie and Sam Wood played poorly last week and that’s why they didn’t play.
“If lads don’t play well, they don’t get selected.”