HUDDERSFIELD Giants are already reaping the rewards of their link-up with Batley Bulldogs.
That’s the verdict of head coach Paul Anderson after watching three members of his Super League squad gaining valuable game-time for Batley in their 18-18 midweek pre-season draw against Halifax at Mount Pleasant.
Jacob Fairbank, Ben Blackmore and Matty Dawson all got 40 minutes under their belts in what was a competitive encounter between two of the Championship’s top clubs.
Back-row forward Fairbank, in particular, will have benefited from the run-out as he looks to regain full fitness following a shoulder reconstruction.
The 22-year-old was restricted to just 20 minutes for the Giants in last Sunday’s 36-12 home trial triumph over Widnes in what was his first game for six months.
And had it not been for the opportunity to play for the Bulldogs, Fairbank would have been denied the chance to prove his fitness ahead of the start of Super League XVIII.
“This is where the link really proves its worth,” said Anderson.
“I know how delighted the Bulldogs are with their side of the bargain, in that they can take advantage of our medical staff and private medical insurance.
“But I’m just as pleased that (Batley coach) John Kear could give three our players a run-out the other night.
“Ben and Matty needed a game because there was no place for them in our squad to face Widnes last weekend. Fortunately, they got that with Batley.
“And in the case of Bobby (Fairbank), it’s game-time he needs more than anything at the moment, and that’s what the Bulldogs were able to give him.
“He’s only been back with us for a couple of weeks following his rehab, so we decided not to put him straight back in at St Helens the other week – even though he needs as much time on the field as possible right now.
“But he got a solid 40 minutes under his belt at Batley, and that will have done him a tremendous amount of good.
“He’ll now be more ready to receive a Super League call.”