BATLEY BULLDOGS head coach Matt Diskin has strengthened his backroom staff with the introduction of Lee St Hilaire.
The former Huddersfield and Castleford hooker will become Diskin’s assistant for the 2017 campaign and the duo will work closely with last season’s coaches Danny Maun and Mark Moxon.
Diskin knows all about St Hilaire’s potential as a coach from his time at Bradford Bulls and the new Bulldogs chief was quick to secure his services for next season.
Diskin is also close friends with existing coach Danny Maun who, like Diskin, began his rugby league career with amateur side Dewsbury Moor, and the duo are keen to enhance ties with the local community.
This year the Bulldogs will be unable to host a pre-season friendly against a Heavy Woollen Select side, but Diskin remains optimistic that he can build close relationships between Batley and local amateur clubs.
“It’s important that Batley provide links with amateur clubs next season and beyond,” said Diskin.
“It would benefit Batley as much as it would the amateur sides.
“You get a lot of players who drop out of Super League academies and go straight into their local amateur side.
“It’s important for Batley that we recognise that talent and make sure we don’t miss out on players who can strengthen our squad.”
Danny Maun, despite helping with coaching duties, has also being working to enhance the club commercially off the back of their successful season which saw them reach the Super 8s Qualifiers.
So far Maun has attracted sponsorship from The Cellar Bar, Zucchini Restaurant, Priestley’s Cafe Bar, Projex Solutions and CRT Interiors to name just a few.
Diskin added: “Danny has great enthusiasm and is really hard working.
“He’s loved at this club and he is 100 per cent committed to everything he does.
“He’s a real asset to have around the place and he’s certainly a guy you want working for you rather than against you.”
Meanwhile the Bulldogs have been shortlisted for two gongs at the TV Yorkshire Sports Personality of the Year awards.
Batley could claim the team of the year honour for their unexpected third place finish in the Championship last season.
But they face tough opposition for the award from Huddersfield Town, Yorkshire CCC, Barnsley FC and Hull.
John Kear has also been shortlisted for the coach of the year prize following an impressive campaign which has already seen him clinch the Championship coach of the year award.
Kear is up against Lee Radford (Hull FC), Jason Gillespie (Yorkshire CCC), Ady Hinchliffe and Edwin Jongejans (Leeds Diving), boxing trainer David Coldwell and UFC coach Darren Morris.