Championship second place “now in reach” for several teams

George Riley
James Brown Batley Bulldogs Championship Grand Final SWpix

Photo: John Clifton/SWpix

Batley coach Craig Lingard says second place in the Championship is in reach after their win at Featherstone but has backed Rovers to reach the Grand Final.

Lingard’s Bulldogs became the first side to win at Post Office Road this season having already held them at Mount Pleasant earlier this season.

But while Lingard admits the door is now ajar for other sides, he still thinks it will be Championship heavyweights Leigh and Featherstone fighting it out for a place in Super League.

“It would be daft to think it’s not Featherstone and Leigh,” Lingard told the Love Rugby League Podcast.

“The teams are so good and their squad depth runs too deep so it would be daft to think it won’t be them too. But that second place is in reach now for several teams, York, Halifax and even ourselves.

“Featherstone are in the driving seat but we have a little hope now. We have taken three points off the second best team in the division.”


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Featherstone’s home defeat to Batley follows two losses to Leigh in a difficult month for head coach Brian McDermott.

But Lingard, whose family is from Featherstone with dad Steve a former Rovers Chairman and grandad Benny a full-back for the club in the 1930s, believes they will bounce back. 

“It would be a bit premature to say Rovers are unravelling,” he said. “It’s difficult for any team, even St Helens in Super League, to go all the way through a season playing consistently well all season. 

“Leigh have not had that patch yet, I think the way the ground has been and the weather has been the last four to six weeks it has suited the players and style that Leigh has got.

“Let’s not forget the Grand Final is at the end of September; it could be boggy and windy, which might not suit Leigh. It could suit Featherstone more.

“When it boils down to it we are playing for one game at the end of the season and anything can happen in that 80 minutes. Brian McDermott has a track record of winning that one match, winning Grand Finals not from top.

“Regardless of what you think about the structure, that one game is all that matters. As long as you are in the play-off positions you have the opportunity to get promoted to Super League.”

PODCAST: Craig Lingard on Championship recruitment rules, Batley & two divisions of 14?

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