BATLEY BULLDOGS head coach Matt Diskin says that team selection throughout the year will be based solely on form after the announcement of the club’s squad numbers for 2019.
Half-back Louis Jouffret takes up the number six shirt from the departing Pat Walker, after signing a permanent deal following a successful spell with the club at the end of last season.
Danny Yates has also been brought into the club from Rochdale Hornets, and the new number 14 will compete for a place in the halves along with captain Dominic Brambani.
“He’s got the squad number because of how he finished last season, as well as Dom at number seven,” said Diskin.
“We’ve also got young Danny Yates who’s doing exceptionally well nipping at their heels, and I think all three of them will make a great combination this year.
“I think (with) the experience that Dom has, the professionalism, and the quality that he has as a player anyway, if he can pass that on to both Louis and Danny then they’ll both be fantastic players because of it.”
The numbers on the back of the shirts will mean little when the season gets underway though, as Diskin insists that current form will be the only factor in who plays each week.
“Selection throughout the year will be based on form,” he said. “If players are playing well then they’ll play week in and week out, and if the form drops off we’ve got quality players to come in.”
Johnny Campbell has also moved up in the squad list, taking the number five shirt after finishing the season impressively for Batley on the wing, while Lewis Galbraith will wear number four having been a first-choice centre throughout 2018.
In the forwards, vice-captain James Brown moves from 21 to 13, while three of their four new signings in the forward pack are listed in the top 17.
Jack Downs brings plenty of Super League experience from Hull FC and has been given the number 12 jersey, while Toby Everett will wear number 15 after his move from Dewsbury Rams and Tyler Dickinson takes 17 after switching from Huddersfield Giants.
Diskin says that he has been impressed with how all three have applied themselves in pre-season training.
“Jack’s been very good for us,” he said. “He’s got really good quality and professionalism about him, and he’s a very good trainer and a very tough competitor. He’s added a real tenacity to our training programme, which a lot of the boys have responded to.
“Both Tyler and Toby are training exceptionally well, they’re both looking in good shape. Toby in particular has dropped quite a bit of weight, he’s looking a lot more athletic than the last couple of years, and let’s hope that the hard work done in pre-season bears fruition come February.”
The other new forward signing, prop Joe Taira, has been handed the number 21 shirt, while versatile back Niall Walker will wear number 20 and on-loan Huddersfield centre Sam Wood takes the 22 jersey.