BATLEY BULLDOGS have signed prop forward Tyler Dupree on a month’s loan from Leeds Rhinos to boost their injury-hit pack ahead of this weekend’s home clash against Swinton Lions.
With up to five forwards potentially ruled out, Batley have moved to bring in 20-year-old Dupree from Leeds, whose reserve side the club have also agreed a dual-registration agreement with in the past week.
Dupree is yet to make his Super League debut but featured four times in the Championship for York last season and featured once in 2018 for Featherstone. The 20-year-old has earned representative honours with Yorkshire Academy and Bulldogs head coach Craig Lingard says he has an opportunity to show what he can do.
“He’s only a young kid but he’s got plenty of size about him. It’s about him trying to fulfil some of the potential that Leeds see in him,” said Lingard.
“It’s difficult as a young kid to play in such a demanding position as prop. You often mature in your mid-to-late twenties so it’s difficult for young props to cement their place in a Super League side or even a Championship side because you’re still learning, still growing and playing against some experienced older heads.
“It’s a chance for Tyler to come to us and show Leeds what they can expect from him as and when they call him into the first team.”
The club have also secured a partnership with the Rhinos which will see some of the Bulldogs’ squad players feature for Leeds’ reserve side this season.
“We can send our first-team players over there to get some game time so people who are coming back from injury or haven’t played for a couple of weeks can get some game time over there,” said Lingard.
“We’ll send Leeds a list of players who are potentially available for the next reserve game, they’ll have their meeting to decide how many players they need and in what positions, then they’ll let us know and we’ll take it from there.”
Batley welcome Swinton to the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium on Sunday (kick-off 3pm) and, despite being only two weeks into the new season, Lingard is aware of how important a game it could be after defeats to big-spending Featherstone and Widnes.
“It’s massive, and we’ll be telling the players that,” he said. “When you play Featherstone and Widnes everyone outside the club expects you to get beat and you can play without that added pressure. We performed okay in parts of both games but we’ve come away with zero points.
“Now we’ve got a home game against Swinton, and Batley fans will be expecting us to win that. Swinton finished above Batley last year, they won at Whitehaven (in their opening game) and kept a clean sheet which is never easy to do.
“We know that the positive attributes that we’ve shown in the season so far – the work ethic, attitude and desire to work for each other – that’ll have to be there in abundance this week, as well as the execution and a little bit of skill and flair.
“We are under no illusions that, even in the third game of the season, this is a huge game. We need to pick up as many points at home as possible, certainly against the sides that you’d expect to be in and around us at the end of the season.”
They are set to be missing a number of players for the game though, particularly in the middle of the pitch. Tyler Dickinson (back) remains out while Joe Taira (elbow) only returned to training this week.
They could be joined in the stands by Shaun Pick and Anthony Bowman, who suffered neck and hand injuries respectively in last week’s stormy defeat at Widnes, while James Brown is set to see a specialist over his hand problem, although he was able to play with it last week.
Dale Morton (quad) was a late withdrawal from the team against the Vikings with Dave Scott filling that spot on the wing, but he is expected to be back in contention against Swinton along with fellow wide man Johnny Campbell, who has missed the first two matches with a hamstring injury.