Hirst's future at Mount in doubt?

Hirst's future at Mount in doubt?

RUMOURS have surfaced over the future of Batley Bulldogs captain Keegan Hirst, who has been linked with a move to Super League side Wakefield.

Hirst is yet to renew his contract with the Mount Pleasant club, which expires at the end of the current campaign.

It has been rumoured that the  28-year-old prop, who has never played in Super League, will follow current Bulldogs boss John Kear to Wakefield for the start of the 2017 season.

But Hirst insists that leaving Batley would be a huge decision and his focus at the moment is on keeping alive the Bulldogs’ dream of finishing in the Championship top four.

“I’ve enjoyed every minute of my time at the club and they’ve been excellent to me,” said Hirst.

“I’ve become captain and feel like I’m playing well this year, as are all the guys. It’s easy to see why I’m linked with Wakefield given that the boss (Kear) is going and I’m his captain, but as it stands I’m a Batley player and my focus is on the remainder of this season.

“We have the chance to achieve something really special this season and we’re looking to chase down Featherstone knowing a place in the top four is still in our hands.

“We’ve to play Featherstone at home still and we’ve already beaten them once in the Challenge Cup and have only lost one home game all season so we’re pretty confident.

“We were written off at the start of the season but proved what we could do and now with players back we hope to go on a similar winning run.”

Coach Kear said this week that he will not influence his captain’s decision in any way, adding: “Keegan’s contract expires at the end of the season so where he goes or what he does is solely down to him.

“It is no secret that Keegan has admirers in Super League and Wakefield are one of those clubs.

“He has aspirations to play in the top flight against some of the world’s best. What player doesn’t?

“I know first hand that Keegan is a quality player and I’m confident he would be able to make the step up should he want to.

“I know directors here at Batley are aware of interest from certain clubs including Wakefield.”

Hirst and his teammates face Dewsbury Rams at the Summer Bash in Blackpool this weekend, fresh from back-to-back wins in the Championship which keeps them in touch with fourth-placed Featherstone Rovers.

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