BATLEY BULLDOGS players have one more chance to prove themselves before the Championship season gets underway.
Huddersfield Giants visit the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium this weekend for the final friendly of pre-season.
After facing the might of a full-strength Hull FC in last week’s 38-6 defeat, the Bulldogs will square up to a second-string Giants outfit in the last of four friendlies on Sunday (kick-off 2pm).
Huddersfield begin their Super League season six days later and have confirmed that none of their first-choice players will take part in the friendly, having fielded their strongest side at Wakefield Trinity on Wednesday.
Giants head coach Simon Woolford said: “Sunday will be for those guys who don’t play round one. It will be an opportunity for those to get some game time to make a claim for a starting spot down the track.”
For his part, Batley boss Craig Lingard says that he will continue to try out different players, combinations and systems as he looks for the winning formula to take into the first league game of the season the following weekend, at home to Featherstone Rovers.
“We’re still looking at players and different options,” he said. “We’re still experimenting and working out what the best combinations are, and it might be two or three weeks into the season before we decide what those combinations are going to be.”
Lingard will hope to see more players follow the lead of his most recent signing, former Halifax and Oldham utility Anthony Bowman, who has made an immediate impression in his first two weeks at the club.
“I think Anthony Bowman has come in and in his first two friendlies has made a real impact. He’s certainly put his hand up to be in the first 17 of the season, and that’s what you’re wanting. You want people to say ‘look at me’ and get noticed.”
After a Boxing Day draw with Dewsbury and defeat at League One outfit Hunslet, last week’s Hull clash provided more positives for the Bulldogs boss.
“It was good to see us on our own field and throw some shape out there,” Lingard said. “Playing against a lesser team than Hull we might have caused a few more problems, and we still poked our nose through quite a few times.
“I don’t think we’ll play a better side than that all year and we were competitive for large parts of that game, but then you switch off for a few minutes and you’re stood behind your sticks a couple of times. That’s how ruthless Super League teams are and that’s what we need to try and attain for the Championship.”
Forwards Tyler Dickinson (back) and Shaun Pick (wrist) missed the Hull game with minor complaints and will be assessed ahead of Huddersfield on Sunday, while centre Lewis Galbraith came through his first game of pre-season last week following an ankle injury.