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Championship side recruit Leeds Rhinos prospect and brother in double swoop

Batley Bulldogs have signed brothers Joe and Dave Gibbons from Leeds Rhinos and Hunslet respectively, the siblings’ transfer marking a full circle moment that their father started decades before.

It might not be the most extraordinary splash signing of the off season with a Championship side recruiting two young players that have featured for Super League reserve sides, however the Gibbons’ have family ties with the Bulldogs dating back two decades.

Dave is four days shy of his 22nd birthday whilst younger brother Joe is less than a fortnight from turning 21, providing the Bulldogs with some exciting talented young players to try and forge a strong 2024 campaign.

At one stage during the 2023 season the Bulldogs hit form going on an incredible winning run and reaching the heights of second place in the Championship, however a poor end to the season saw them slip all the way out of the playoffs.

Now under new coaching after Craig Lingard’s departure the Bulldogs have moved for siblings Joe and Dave, creating a family connection that dates back 20 years.

Father David Gibbons played for Batley in the 2003 season alongside twin brother Anthony, both having spent time at Leeds prior to that.

In more recent years the twins have been involved in coaching, serving as assistants to Leeds Rhinos Women, as well as nurturing both Joe and Dave who have now got their shot in the Championship for 2024.

Joe arrives from the Rhinos having been handed a squad number ahead of the 2023 season, however he didn’t play for Rohan Smith’s side.

Instead he spent time on loan with Keighley Cougars whilst also representing the Rhinos reserves team, during which he tallied six games in the Championship and five games for the Rhinos reserves.

He had impressed more so the season before featuring in nine of the reserves 13 games whilst also putting in two performances for League One Cornwall, but now the back-rower will get a chance to make his mark in the Championship.

Older brother Dave arrives from Hunslet after previously playing within Warrington Wolves set-up as well as England academy.

Dave spent much of last season on loan with North Wales Crusaders whom he helped to the League One playoff final, sadly ending in defeat to Doncaster.

He can play in a number of positions but is best in the halves where he can orchestrate play, scoring four tries as he helped Crusaders to eight wins during his twelve match spell in Wales last season.

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