BATLEY BULLDOGS have swooped on their Heavy Woollen rivals for the second time in as many weeks with the capture of Dewsbury’s longest-serving player, Dale Morton.
The versatile back has scored 75 tries in 202 appearances across his seven seasons with the Rams, but has now followed back-rower Lucas Walshaw in moving across the district.
Morton, 28, began his career at Wakefield and appeared 25 times in Super League before moving to Dewsbury in 2013.
Now he has made the switch to the Bulldogs, to the delight of his new head coach Craig Lingard.
“I think Dale is a really good signing,” he said. “He’s got Championship experience. He’s got a good try-scoring return for an outside back.
“Whenever we played against him when I was (previously) coaching at Batley, he’s always been able to carry the ball, he wins that first collision, from a kick return he gets us on the front foot. He’s going to be ideal for us.”
Although he can cover a range of positions across the back line, Lingard says that he has brought Morton in primarily to line up on the wing.
“First and foremost we’re looking at him as a winger but if the recruitment doesn’t go to plan and we don’t get another centre in to give us more competition there, we might ask him to play in that position,” he said.
The transfers of Morton and Walshaw reflect the balance of power in the Heavy Woollen area, with the Bulldogs finishing in a higher league position in each of the past four seasons.
Batley finished in 10th, two places ahead of their rivals, in 2019, and receive more money as a result of how the Championship’s central funding is structured.
Rams head coach Lee Greenwood admits that this puts his side in a disadvantageous position, but insists that the departures of two key players could come to be a positive for themselves.
“They can offer a little more money than we can because of where we finished in the table last season,” he said.
“It’s a new challenge for them but it could be good for us as well, to freshen things up.”