Ryan Smith takes positives from Crusaders’ first pre-season friendly at Batley

Ryan Smith (right) combines with Mitchell Cox to halt Batley’s James Craven in his tracks. Picture source: Memory Mill Photo

North Wales Crusaders “showed a lot of character” in their opening pre-season friendly at Batley Bulldogs last weekend, according to new signing Ryan Smith.

Although Anthony Murray’s men were on the wrong end of a 36–18 scoreline, they were more than a match for Batley and they can take plenty of positives out of the game.

In truth, the final margin of 18 points flattered the Championship club, who already had a pre-season outing under their belt after their Boxing Day victory over neighbours Dewsbury Rams.

Smith, who joined Crusaders from Rochdale Hornets in the off-season, was pleased with his first appearance in a North Wales shirt.

“I thought we had a good run-out,” he said. “The lads came together, played some good stuff and defended well.

“It was a good first game ahead of the Salford at the weekend.

“Batley came out [in the second-half] and they wanted to start quick, especially with playing downhill.

“The lads switched off for that opening five minutes and that cost us two tries, but we showed some good character and got ourselves back in the game.

“Otherwise, it could have been 40–50 points.”

On Crusaders’ friendly against Salford, Smith said: “I think it’ll be a different game to last week; I think Salford will be a lot quicker.

“It’ll be another good test for us.

“It’s a good challenge and that’s what you want. You want to play against players as good as you can.

“We’ll have to change a couple of things that we did wrong last week but, hopefully, we’ll put in another good performance.”

Smith, like the rest of Crusaders’ new signings, has been with the club since pre-season training started back in December.

And he has enjoyed his time at North Wales so far with “a really good set of lads”.

“We’ve had a few run-outs against Salford in pre-season, which have been really good,” he said.

“We’ve done plenty of fitness work and all of the lads have bought into what Muzza (head coach Anthony Murray) wants.

“I’m enjoying it here so far.

“I played against Crusaders last year and the fans always get mentioned. They’re really good and I’m looking forward to playing infront of them.”

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