Batley Bulldogs ready for Grand Final charge
Batley prop Byron Smith says the Bulldogs are happy to play the underdog role ahead of Sunday’s Kingstone Press Championship Grand Final against Sheffield Eagles at Leigh Sports Village (4.30pm).
The Bulldogs booked their place after a dramatic golden point win over Featherstone Rovers last week, but Smith says that doesn’t takes any pressure away from the team.
“I know we’re underdogs for the Grand Final but we’re there to win so there’s still pressure on us,” said Smith.
“I know a lot of people will be expecting Sheffield to come out on top but our expectations differ. If we don’t win we’ll come away massively disappointed.
“I’ve been here before as part of the squad that won the Grand Final with Castleford, but I think this will be bigger because we’re underdogs. We weren’t expected to get here, let alone win it, so it’ll be massive if we do.
“It’ll be huge for the club financially too because we’re run on a shoestring budget here. Getting there’s great, but to win it would be even better.”
Despite being unfancied by many, Batley became the only unbeaten side left in the play-offs with their win over Featherstone, but Smith does not think form will be a deciding factor.
“When you get to a final everyone’s really pumped up for it, and it’s often about who turns up on the day and who gets the rub of the green so it’s not as important as normal,” he said.
“That said, I think we’ve peaked at the right time. We had a slump during the season but if anything it’s benefitted us now. It sounds strange but it galvanised the team, and the Grand Final’s come at the right time for us.
“These close games have given us confidence. If it’s another tight game on Sunday, knowing that we’ve won two games via golden point will help.
“Obviously we weren’t in a good position last week against Featherstone, going 18-0 down within half an hour, but deep down we believed we could turn it around.
“We’d given cheap penalties away and we weren’t completing our sets, so we felt that if we sorted that out there was no reason why we couldn’t win. We got a try just before half-time and from that point we started to claw it back and that gave us the impetus to carry on and win.
“Having being underdogs in the last two games we’ll approach this one in the same way. Sheffield are a very good team, but if we play the way we have done throughout the play-offs there’s no reason we can’t win.”
The 2013 Kingstone Press Championships Finals Day at Leigh Sports Village on Sunday September 29 features a feast of first class Rugby League action with three matches kicking off with the Rugby League Conference Challenge Trophy Final, Leigh Miners v Wigan St Patricks (11.30am), followed by the Championship One Play-off Final (2.00pm) and Championship Grand Final (4.30pm). Tickets cost from just £15 for adults, £10 for concessions and can be purchased by visiting; www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk or by calling the RFL Ticket Office on 0844 856 1113.
For people with any form of disability the RFL offers a free assistant place when booking tickets. For people with a visual impairment or non-sighted disability we also offer audio visual descriptive commentary for all our events.