Batley coach John Kear says he is impressed with the standard of rugby league outside of Super League, after dropping out of the top flight.
Kear, 57, left Wakefield at the end of last season and has succeeded Karl Harrison at Mount Pleasant.
His first competitive game in charge resulted in a 22-16 win over Keighley, to kick start the Bulldogs’ Northern Rail Cup campaign. Batley have pedigree in the competition, having won it back in 2010.
“To be honest, I’ve been surprised myself – there’s really quality competition at this level. I’m loving it here, being involved with first class people, the nervousness of going into the unknown with games like the one coming up at the weekend – it’s re-energised me, and done me the world of good with all the different challenges and environments.
“Also, with the media work I’m doing, it’s keeping me abreast of changes in the game at Super League level which assist me in my day-to-day job here.”
Batley host London Skolars on Sunday in what will be the capital club’s first game in the competition, after their scheduled opener against Toulouse was postponed last weekend.