Big-spending Cougars see Batley as club to model themselves on

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John Kear has labelled Keighley Cougars the “Manchester City” of Championship rugby league.

He takes charge of Batley Bulldogs for the first time tomorrow when they head to Cougar Park in their opening Northern Rail Cup game.

Keighley, led by Kear’s former Wakefield captain Jason Demetriou, have invested heavily, signing a host of Super League players who featured for him at Trinity.

“They’ve got Michael Korkidas, Semi Tadulala, Sam Obst, Paul March and Richie Barnett to go alongside some good players who were already there,” he said.

“On top of that there’s Jason Demetriou, who made a big impression last year, so we’re fully aware of the task we’re facing.

“With who they’ve signed, Keighley have been the Manchester City of the Championship.”

However, player-coach Demetriou believes it is Batley, and not the cash-rich Premier League leaders, who are their ideal model.

“Batley are the benchmark club of where we want to be at the end of the season,” he said.

“Featherstone are the front-runners for all of us outside Super League but, for our progression at Keighley, if we can consolidate ourselves in the Championship and have a good run in the Northern Rail Cup, that would be a very successful season.

“That’s what Batley did last year and it’s what we’re modelling ourselves on. There’s a lot of talk about our recruitment but all we’ve got at the moment is some good names on a piece of paper.

“We need those blokes to turn up with a good attitude but I know their characters well and they all want to achieve something.”

Former Batley coach Karl Harrison takes Halifax to Dewsbury reeling from the news prolific centre Mick Nanyn will miss the entire season after rupturing his cruciate ligament in a training injury.

Ex-Hull FC star Paul Cooke makes his Doncaster debut in the unfamiliar surroundings of Gateshead, while Bradford Bulls half-back Kyle Briggs could feature for Featherstone at Oldham.

Sheffield Eagles visit Workington, Hunslet Hawks entertain Whitehaven but York versus Swinton has been frozen off.