IT would be easy for clubs such as Batley Bulldogs to feel like an afterthought amid all the hype about the new season.
With Leigh Centurions, Bradford Bulls and London Broncos earning all the tips to make the best stab at getting out of the Championship, and Featherstone Rovers going big in their recruitment, too, less attention has perhaps been paid to those who may not be promotion contenders.
However, Batley coach John Kear is not perplexed. Far from it.
“It’s justified talking about all those teams, especially when you see the players they have been signing,” he said.
“And I know it has had a positive effect on our players.
“When Leigh announced they’d got Fuifui Moimoi it was the talk of the changing room.
“Likewise when Fev said they’d signed Garreth Carvell, too, while the first fixture all our guys were looking for was Bradford Bulls at Odsal.
“They know that will be the biggest crowd of the season in a great stadium with a club that has so much tradition as a Super League powerhouse.
“It’s exciting and a credit to the competition that players want to be involved but we know Leigh, Bradford and London as the three full-time clubs going for it and Fev, as the part-time favourites, that they will be the teams to beat.
“They have invested heavily but for clubs like us, Dewsbury and Doncaster the targets are different.
“A real good season for us would be a top-six place and a home play-off for the Championship Shield.
“That would be great. Obviously, though, a top-four spot would be amazing too; I’d love to have a crack at a Wakefield or Hull!”