Bulldogs are still aiming high

DEPARTING coach John Kear is focused on leaving Batley Bulldogs in the best possible position.

Kear, who leaves at the end of the season to rejoin Wakefield Trinity Wildcats as director of rugby, says a top-four spot would be an ideal parting gift for the Mount Pleasant club.

At the halfway stage of the season the Bulldogs are fifth in the Kingstone Press Championship, a point outside the top-four and a place in the Super Eights Qualifiers when the competition splits after 23 rounds.

“The higher we finish, the more money we get,” said Kear.

“I want to leave the club in a really sound financial situation and with the ability to invest in further quality players. I am driven to make sure we finish as high as we possibly can.

“A great achievement would be if we can finish fourth, but we are aiming as high as we can.

“At the beginning of the season we didn’t set targets and are still very much taking it week-to-week. We’re seeing where the season takes us.”

The Bulldogs play host to fourth-placed Halifax on Sunday (3pm) looking to end a four-match losing run and thankfully came through last Friday’s 40-4 Challenge Cup defeat by Catalans Dragons with no new major injury concerns.

Kear added: “I was really pleased with them, and proud of their effort and commitment.

“We got physically dominated, ultimately, but that is no disgrace when you are playing a team like Catalans.”

In other club news, popular forward Sean ‘Paddy’ Hesketh, who has been on the Bulldogs’ long-term injury list, has now been ruled out for the season with a shoulder problem that requires surgery.

Full-back James Craven has been released from his contract with

immediate effect.

The former Thornhill amateur, who also enjoyed a long spell with Dewsbury, has been frustrated with his lack of playing opportunities this season as Dave Scott has been first choice in the no.1 jersey for the Bulldogs.

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