Rugby-League.com

Batley

24 Jan 2022

Betfred Championship Preview | Batley Bulldogs

Betfred Championship Preview | Batley Bulldogs

With the 2022 season on the horizon, the West Yorkshire outfit will be looking to build on an incredible 2021. A fourth-place finish saw the Bulldogs secure a play-off spot, where an emphatic win over rivals Bradford Bulls meant progression to the semi-finals.

A gruelling season eventually came to a close eighty minutes earlier than they’d have liked, after coming unstuck against an impressive Toulouse side in France. It was a bitter ending to a year they could truly be proud of, with half back Tom Gilmore earning a nomination for the Player of the Year at the RFL awards but just missing out to Featherstone’s Craig Hall.

The Betfred Championship Coach of the Year award did come back to Batley though, with Craig Lingard’s managerial nous getting it’s deserved dues. After a legendary ten-year period as a player for the Bulldogs, Lingard turned his focus to coaching – he racked up plenty of experience in a number of roles at the likes of Bramley Buffaloes and Keighley Cougars, with a stint as Batley’s assistant coach too. He later returned to the Bulldogs as Head Coach in 2019, and will no doubt be aiming to ensure his third season in charge betters what was a hugely successful 2021 for the Yorkshireman.

Lingard’s men have now completed preparations for their season opener this weekend, after three sharply contested pre-season friendlies. Things got underway with a repeat of last season’s play-off eliminator, a 22-28 victory at Odsal against Bradford following a hard-fought comeback from 12-0 down set the Bulldogs up nicely for their trip to Widnes a week later, where they fell to a 24-18 defeat in Danny Craven’s testimonial.

For their final pre-season test, a step up in competition saw them put up a great fight against Huddersfield Giants, but the Super League side just had too much in the end and the Bulldogs fell to a defeat.

Hoping to go one further this year, Batley have made some shrewd signings to bolster the squad. Here’s the club’s transfer ins and outs ahead of the season:

Transfers in:

  • Josh Hodgson (London Broncos)
  • James Meadows (London Broncos)
  • Perry Whiteley (York City Knights)
  • Josh Milthorpe (Castleford Tigers)
  • Louis Collinson (Castleford Tigers)

Transfers out:

  • Wayne Reittie (Hunslet)
  • Elliot Hall (Bradford Bulls)
  • Jodie Broughton (Retirement)

One to Watch

In something of a Betfred Championship rarity, Batley Bulldogs have retained a huge portion of the squad which took them to fourth place in 2021 - but this could be a huge year for full back Luke Hooley.

The former Wakefield man was in superb form throughout 2021 and kept his place in the club's starting 13 despite competition from emerging talent Elliot Hall, now a Bradford player.

The goalkicking number one has flourished under the guidance of Craig Lingard and will be a big part of any success the Mount Pleasant outfit have in 2022. 

2022 FULL SQUAD

Luke Hooley, Kieran Buchanan, Jonny Campbell, Ben White, Tom Gilmore, Adam Gledhill, Alistair Leak, Toby Everett, Dane Manning, Lucas Walshaw, Aaron Brown, Jack Blagbrough, Michael Ward, Josh Tonks, George Senior, Tom Lillycrop, Joe Sanderson, Dale Morton, Jack Logan, Ben Kaye, Anthony Bowman, Nyle Flynn, Aiden Ineson,  Dom Horn, Josh Hodgson, James Meadows, Perry Whiteley, Josh Milthorpe, Louis Collinson 

The Bulldogs kick their campaign off at home to Halifax Panthers this Sunday at 15:00.