Bulldogs bring in student international Morgan

Bulldogs bring in student international Morgan

BATLEY have brought in former Leeds Rhino academy and Great Britain student player Jacob Morgan to ease the pressure on their injury-hit squad.

Morgan played for the Bulldogs in pre-season and made his competitive debut for John Kear’s side in their win over Swinton last Sunday in the Challenge Cup.

Batley boss Kear said the former South Wales half-back added a new element in attack for his team.

“I was impressed with him. He only managed the first 30 minutes due to fitness, because this is the highest form of rugby he has played,” he said.

“Even though he played full-back, he is also a stand-off, and he’s a natural passer of the ball and when he was on, our centres got more ball than they have all season.”

The Bulldogs have been without a recognised half-back partnership for the majority of the season, with Cain Southernwood being the only fit playmaker.

Kear confirmed scrum-half Scott Leatherbarrow would miss this weekend’s game against Leigh but will be in contention for the match against Whitehaven on May 3.

“It’s difficult to play the style of rugby you want with only one recognised half-back,” the Batley coach said.

“St Helens are the model team for that. They won the grand final with just one half-back, and they had to play more attritional rugby.”

The Wales boss also said full-back James Craven will return to the squad in time for the Cumbria side’s visit to Mount Pleasant.

Batley managed to see off League One side Swinton Lions last weekend, despite fielding a number of inexperienced players.

“I’m really pleased with the result, and it puts confidence back into the team. It’s especially rewarding because we had a lot of young players in the team.

“They will push the more senior players, and it causes a selection headache. Our squad has gone from depleted, to getting people back and fighting for a place,” Kear added.

“We didn’t pick up any injuries at the weekend, and touch wood we won’t pick any up before the game on Sunday.”

Batley were rewarded for their efforts against Swinton with a trip in the sixth round to Super League side Widnes Vikings, but Kear insists his team can’t look too far ahead.

“It’s good for the club, but we can’t get excited yet because the game is four weeks away.

“We’ve got a tough match on Sunday, and then we play Whitehaven and Workington, so it’s a mini three-game season for us,” he said.

This weekend Batley travel to league leaders Leigh Centurions at the Leigh Sports Village (Sun 3pm), with Paul Rowley’s team unbeaten this season.

“They have progressed year on year, and have been the best team in the competition for the past two seasons,” Kear said.

The reigning Championship winners knocked Super League club Salford Red Devils out of the Challenge Cup last weekend with a 22-18 victory.

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