BATLEY BULLDOGS will make an emotional return to action this weekend for their first match since the death of Archie Bruce.
The 20-year-old was found dead in his hotel room just hours after making his debut for the club in a 46-0 defeat at Toulouse.
Batley will be paying tribute to Bruce ahead of Sunday’s match against Featherstone Rovers at the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium (kick-off 3pm).
The club have said that supporters wearing the commemorative #ACB9 half-and-half Batley Bulldogs and Dewsbury Moor shirt will have their admission reduced to £10 on the gate.
Bruce had joined Batley as a trialist at the beginning of the season while continuing to play amateur rugby for Dewsbury Moor.
Moor held their second team’s Yorkshire Men’s League fixture against Milford last Thursday in his memory. The referees’ match fees from that game, and last week’s Heavy Woollen Cup finals, were donated to the RFL Benevolent Fund’s JustGiving page for Archie, which has now raised over £7,500.
A minute’s applause was also held before Saturday’s Challenge Cup final at Wembley for the young hooker.
His passing overshadows the end of Batley’s season, with two matches remaining in their Championship campaign.
Before finishing away at Barrow, they host fifth-placed Featherstone in their final fixture of the year at Mount Pleasant.
Featherstone ran out 42-14 winners when the two West Yorkshire sides met in the reverse fixture back in February, and will be highly motivated with a win securing them a play-off spot.
Batley are safe from relegation in 10th place, but can still finish as high as eighth with Halifax and Swinton both two points ahead of Matt Diskin’s side.
Dane Manning won’t feature again for the Bulldogs this season after he was handed a three-match ban for a dangerous throw in their derby victory over Dewsbury, while James Brown copped a one-match suspension for use of the knee in a tackle in the same game.