‘I am looking forward to it’ - Mark Moxon relishing ‘challenge’ as new Batley Bulldogs head coach
and live on Freeview channel 276
But after Craig Lingard - who also joined Kear’s coaching setup to help with Moxon’s shift work - announced his plans to join Castleford Tigers full-time from the end of the 2023 campaign, the long-serving assistant is now ready to take on the “challenge” as the club’s new head coach.
Moxon told the Reporter Series: “I am really looking forward to it. I am going into my 13th season here and I had never put myself forward for the head coach job. My job as a firefighter involved doing shifts, four on, four off, so when the job has come up I’ve never thrown my hat into the ring simply because I couldn’t be there all of the time.
“However, my shifts have changed slightly now which means I get a bit more time off and the club asked if I could make it work, so I sat down and worked out my shift pattern and training dates, and I thought I could make it work this time. Here we are.
“I will still be trying to balance the two, with my family life as well, and it is going to be difficult. But I am looking forward to the challenge and I am sure it will be one, with the support of the club and my family, that we can make it work.”
And the new boss has admitted he has already been busy behind the scenes ahead of the 2024 season.
“I’ve been able to start with retention and recruitment nice and early,” he said. “We’ve been working away at that for a while but it hasn’t been a massive job because clearly we want to keep the majority of the squad together.
“You always get some natural wastage, or some who move on to take other opportunities elsewhere, so there is always a bit of change. We’re getting there slowly.”
The club revealed this week that Josh Hodson, one of the side’s key performers from last season, has been signed by Lingard’s Cas.
Moxon said: Josh has been great for us and he is a big loss. At Batley, if players move onto bigger and better things, like Siper League and full time, that has got to be a win for us. It is certainly a win for us as coaching staff. We are getting a reputation now for developing players who do move on to full time environments.
“We’ve had Alex Walmsley and, more recently, Luke Hooley. Hopefully that continues. Obviously it makes life difficult for us because we have to replace these players but it’s got to be a win. It’s a win for the coaches and a win for the club because it gives a good reflection on the environment we are providing for players.”
On his relationship with Lingard and the “continuity” he hopes to still bring to the club, Moxon said:
“Since Linners has been in charge he’s been great for me as he’s given me plenty of rope and I’ve been as close to being a head coach as I possibly could without being a head coach because he’s given me loads of opportunities for me to say how I’d like to do it and he involved me in every decision we’ve made and we’ve made them as a pair.
“I feel like the last three or four years he has really helped me to be in a position where I can take over and it being a seamless transition. Because of that a lot of the systems of play and philosophy of how to play the game, me and Linners tended to agree with a lot of it so there won’t be many changes to that.
“That continuity will hopefully shine through.”