BATLEY BULLDOGS coach Matt Diskin insists that the Boxing Day derby is “not a friendly game” as his side prepare to face Dewsbury Rams.
The two rivals will compete for the Roy Powell Trophy, and Diskin says that the game, which will mark 20 years since the former Batley player’s passing, should be played with the right attitude.
“We’re really looking forward to it,” he said. “For us it’s not a friendly game, it’s a big game. The Roy Powell Trophy (is up for grabs) and it’s 20 years since his passing, so for us it’s a really important game.”
The Bulldogs have made seven signings ahead of the 2019 campaign, and fans can expect to see a few of the new boys in action at the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium.
“There’s meant to be a few (new signings in action), everybody who’s fit and available,” said Diskin.
“We’re going with a squad of 20. We’ve got a very strong starting 13, and then we’re looking for some of those new signings to put a marker down and apply some of the new systems and structures that they’ve learned over the last month or so, and come up with a good performance.
“We are wanting to give all the new players an opportunity, but we also want to win as well.
“There are one or two that are still going through the recovery process and some minor operations from the end of last season, so they’re not quite ready for the Boxing Day game but they’ll feature in January.”
Diskin admits that the Rams will be difficult to predict after an autumn of change at the Tetley’s Stadium, but is confident in what his own team can produce.
“Dewsbury have had a massive overhaul, a new coach and a lot of new players, so they’re a bit of an unknown entity,” he said.
“We’ve been training exceptionally hard, we’re looking way ahead of where we have been previously. We’re still not quite the finished product, but we’re looking to be a very competitive team on Boxing Day.
“I think we’re fitter than last year, we’re looking sharper with the ball than last year, so I’m really happy with the progress that we’ve made.
“We’ve still got another six weeks before the start of the season, to fine tune some of the areas that we need to, but I’m more than happy with where we are at the moment.
“Hopefully we can keep building and improving and be in a good position come the start of February.”