Hailing from the Steel City, Eddie Battye was always destined to be a prop forward. Having done his time at Sheffield Eagles, Bats talks all things London, including having just signed another contract to stay in the capital.
Talk us through season 2017 for Eddie Battye – an injury early on saw you on the side line for quite some time?
I started off really well – I had a good pre-season and a good few friendly games, started the season well, and then got hit by a rough injury, really. It kept me out for the better part of four months. It was hard to get back, and it took me a couple of games after the injury to get back into it, but I’m hoping I’m getting back to my best now, and I can hopefully kick on in these last few games.
Do you think the game against Warrington was your best of the season?
I did alright – I mean, yeah – there were still areas of my game to work on, but I did alright. I’m still not back at my best just yet, but I’m hoping to get back there.
Only two points in it against Warrington – must have been a very tough game to take?
They’ve all been tough, to be fair. It was the same as the game against Catalans, Featherstone and Hull. They have been tough to take, because they’ve all been that close. It’s just those areas throughout the game, the 10-15 minutes spells where we switch off, and that’s when Super League teams get you. We know we’re good enough to compete with them, we just need to brush up, and put in a complete performance and we can turn the teams over
How do we combat those ten minute spells? Do we prepare differently now?
We prepare for each game differently, but we’ve spoken about it this week – it’s a concentration thing. We’re not used to playing at that level week in week out, but now we’re starting to get used to it, we should be better for it, and better for the experience. Hopefully, we can put in a complete performance these next few games.
We have to win every game now, and that started this weekend with Halifax. There’s no point looking further down the track, because we have to win the next game, and then the game after that.
Is promotion still the goal?
Yes, definitely. It’s still on the cards – we know we’re good enough to win these last few games. It’ll be tough. It’s knockout football now. It’s a semi and a final, now. We’ve got to pick ourselves up now, and we’ve got to win.
So the goal is two more wins and then the Million Pound Game, potentially against Catalans, Leigh or Widnes – do you think we can beat them?
Yeah, 100%. We pushed Catalans and should have beaten them. 100% we can – if we win two more games we might be at home, which would be a massive advantage for us. We’re used to our pitch, and it’s difficult for teams coming down here. They’re not used to it, and they’ve never been to this sort of facility before.
What was your highlight of 2017?
I don’t know, really – I haven’t played as much as I’d have liked to. I’m hoping there’s going to be a big highlight at the end of the year. That’s something to work for and look forward to. These are the big games now, this is where you want to be playing and performing well.
You’ve been here for two years and just signed for another – what was the reasoning behind staying in London?
I enjoy it down here. I’m playing some decent stuff (other than my injury this year). I just want to keep improving as a player, and the aim is to get to Super League, so hopefully I can be a Super League player next year. That’s the aim, really.
Are we succeeding at growing the game of rugby league in London?
Yeah, definitely – the name is getting about now, we’ve been in Ealing for two years, and you can tell going around Ealing and West London that it is getting out there. Hopefully we can start bringing in new spectators to the club. Whenever you go into town or into Ealing now, there’s people who’ll say – whether it’s down at Nuffield or elsewhere – I watched the game on TV the other night. It’s good, it’s getting out there, and I think we’re doing the right things off the field.