Exclusive: Luke Hooley reveals how Batley Bulldogs mastermind the defeat of Featherstone Rovers

Going into last weekend’s Championship semi-finals everyone expected Leigh and Featherstone to ease into the Million Pound Game at the expense of York and Batley.

In fact, all season we’ve expected the two to meet in the Championship Grand Final with a place in Super League up for grabs.

However, an amazing performance from the Bulldogs at Featherstone stunned the star-studded Rovers seeing Batley move on to the Million Pound Game at Leigh Sports Village against Adrian Lam’s Leigh side.

The win saw Featherstone boss Brian McDermott resign yesterday but just how did Batley mastermind this shock win and take a step towards Super League?

Well, we’ve spoken to star fullback Luke Hooley about the famous win and he revealed how the Bulldogs prepared for the fixture full of confidence after some brilliant performances against the Rovers earlier this season.

“We prepared for them just like any other team we’ve played this year,” Hooley said, “We knew we could go there and do the job.

“I don’t think anyone apart from ourselves gave us a chance going into that game but the belief and confidence we have we knew we could cause the upset.”

Hooley also gave some insight into what was going through his mind when the Bulldogs were 14-0 at the start of the game as Hooley scored a superb try early in the game outfoxing opposite number Craig Hall: “When we was 14-0 it was just about staying calm and don’t change what’s working for us.”

However, things nearly unravelled for the Bulldogs when Featherstone battled back in the game with a try from Luke Briscoe making 32-28 with some time left for the Rovers to pinch it.

Batley held on but for Hooley and his teammate were certainly “nervous” at this point: “At 32-28 was a nervous few minutes, but it was just about every player on that field doing what we can to keep them from scoring and we did that.”

Batley are now 80 minutes away from Super League and have one last game this season. However, it could be Hooley’s final game for the club with the fullback widely expected to join Leeds next year.

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