‘Not converting dominance into points’ - Mark Moxon rues lack of clinical finishing as Halifax Panthers leave Batley Bulldogs still searching for first league win

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Batley Bulldogs’ head coach Mark Moxon says his side need to improve on their “end product” after Halifax Panthers inflicted a third successive Championship defeat at the start of the 2024 season.

Tries from Robbie Butterworth and Joe Burton weren’t enough for the Bulldogs as ten points from the boot of Louis Jouffret added to two Fax tries from Tom Inman and James Woodburn-Hall in atrocious weather conditions at The Shay yesterday.

Moxon said after the 18-10 defeat: “Obviously disappointed with the final result. It is just our end product at the moment. I can’t question the commitment and effort. It is just our final product and good ball and not taking the opportunities when they are presented.

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“I know it wasn’t one for the purest today and chances were at a premium but we just couldn’t manage to get over the line when we had our chances.”

Action from a rainy Shay as Halifax Panthers beat Batley Bulldogs 18-10. Photo by Simon Hall.Action from a rainy Shay as Halifax Panthers beat Batley Bulldogs 18-10. Photo by Simon Hall.
Action from a rainy Shay as Halifax Panthers beat Batley Bulldogs 18-10. Photo by Simon Hall.

Batley came into the game having lost their opening two games of the season, including the heavy defeat at local rivals Dewsbury Rams on Good Friday and Moxon made changes to that side with Johnny Mitsias replacing George Senior at centre, Butterworth replacing Elliot Kear at full-back with Kear moving to the halves in place of the injured Dave Gibbons.

Moxon said: “It was the same as last week where we dominated the territory and field position but we are not converting that dominance into points and that is hurting us at the moment.

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Halifax Panthers prosper in the rain to leave Batley Bulldogs still searching fo...

“Maybe we are lacking that little bit of quality. We had Elliot Kear in the halves and he is not what you would class as a normal half. It was a little bit of an unfamiliar role for him.

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“Woodsy (Josh Woods) is out at the moment and Dave Gibbons rolled his ankle on Tuesday, so there are a few reasons there as to why our good ball isn’t quite clicking as it should but we need to work on it through the week and improve that area of our game.”

On the weather conditions, with Storm Kathleen unleashing persistent rain and a swirling wind throughout the attritional contest, Moxon added:

“The conditions were terrible. Monsoon conditions in the first half and it turned into a mud bath in the second.

“Really poor conditions for both teams so all credit to both sets of players for putting on a show in those conditions.”