Hesketh to miss Halifax clash

Batley Bulldogs coach Karl Harrison is without suspended prop Sean Hesketh for tonight’s elimination play-off.

Harrison is at the centre of speculation linking him with a switch to The Shay for 2012, but his immediate focus is on steering Batley to the Co-operative Championship Grand Final.

Harrison said: “I’m confident we can beat anyone. We’ve a very competitive squad and motivation for big games is never a problem.”

Halifax caretaker coach Damian Ball will check on the fitness of Makali Aizue (ankle) and Steve Bannister (suspected broken thumb) after the pair picked up knocks during Sunday’s 32-24 win at Hunslet Hawks.

Jim Gannon is definitely ruled out after being handed a one match suspension by the RFL’s disciplinary committee.

Halifax trailed 20-6 at half time against Hunslet, but produced a much better second-half performance to secure the points – and some confidence – ahead of Thursday’s clash.

Ball said: “The way we’re starting games is something we need to address. We need a massive start in this crucial game against Batley.

“The second half performance (against Hunslet) is what we needed going into a big game.”

On Batley, Ball added: “They’re a bit of a bogey team for us this year, but we know what to expect.

“Karl gets his troops up really well, and the key for us is to out-enthuse them. There’s no question it’s a difficult game, but if we prepare well then we’ve got a chance.

“We’ve got some threats and we’ve got some tricks up our sleeve, but it’s going to be tough. We’ve got to make sure we play smart.”

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