Uncertainty on dual-reg for Bulldogs

Uncertainty on dual-reg for Bulldogs

BATLEY BULLDOGS are being forced to play a waiting game on loans and dual-registration because Super League clubs are reluctant to commit to agreements ahead of their new reserves competition in 2020, according to coach Craig Lingard.

The club benefitted from a loose arrangement with Kirklees neighbours Huddersfield Giants last season, with Sam Wood enjoying a season-long loan while Olly Russell and Reiss Butterworth spent time at the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium on dual-reg.

Lingard says that Batley have made enquiries with the Giants about retaining an arrangement next year, but the top-flight side are hesitant to make any commitments.

“We made loose enquiries with Huddersfield about taking a few of their players on loan for the season, but Huddersfield are reluctant to let players leave because they’ve got fixtures to fulfil with their reserve team,” said the Bulldogs boss.

“There’s no guarantee yet with loan players or dual-reg because a lot of Super League teams are waiting to see what’s happening with the reserve competition first.

“It’s a difficult one for Super League teams and teams outside Super League that are looking to try and benefit from dual-registration because no-one really knows what format this reserve competition is going to take and whether it will be a strong one or not.

“Certainly for the first five or six weeks of the reserve competition, we might see a lot of first-team players playing in that competition rather than going out on loan or dual-registration anywhere.”

Batley last week confirmed their seventh new signing of the season as prop forward Jack Blagbrough joined the club from York.

The 25-year-old made 24 appearances last season as the Knights achieved a third-place finish in the Championship.

Blagbrough began his career with Huddersfield, making one Super League appearance in 2013 before joining Sheffield Eagles the following season. He moved to Leigh Centurions in 2018 before his one-year spell in North Yorkshire.

“He’s another middle who has some decent size on him, there’s some aggression in his carry and his defence as well,” said Lingard.

“With what he achieved at York last year and how he helped them finish in the top three, he’s going to come and improve the pack that we’ve got.

“He’s the right age as well, he’s still a young kid so he’s still got a lot of rugby in front of him. He’s had that experience of being full-time at Huddersfield and Leigh, so he’s played for some top clubs and for someone at such a young age he’s got some experience.”

Blagbrough’s signature takes Batley’s squad size up to 22, and Lingard says the club are looking to bring in one more forward to complement the pack being assembled.

“We’ll potentially need to bring another one in in that position as well. As of yet we’ve not got any definite targets,” he said.

“We’ve got a few people on the radar but we’re in that position where we’ve got a decent squad so we don’t want to jump in and spend our budget on a player for the sake of it.”

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