Doncaster 14 Leeds Rhinos 42: Dons wilt after fine first half show

Rhino's Ash Handley is tackled by Doncaster's Sam Doherty. 'Picture:  Jonathan Gawthorpe.
Rhino's Ash Handley is tackled by Doncaster's Sam Doherty. 'Picture: Jonathan Gawthorpe.
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Doncaster ended their warm-up campaign with a fourth defeat in as many games, going down 42-14 at home to Leeds Rhinos at the Keepmoat Stadium.

The visitors included only one first-team regular (Zak Hardaker) in their squad, but a number of their young players boasted Super League experience and many are tipped to be stars of the future.

The Dons gave an encouraging first-half performance and went in leading 8-6.

But Leeds, with England international full-back Hardaker linking up in attack at every opportunity, and stand-off Liam Sutcliffe – seen as the natural successor to Danny McGuire taking control - dominated the second half scoring six tries to one.

Despite being without several injured players including hooker Kyle Kesik and exciting scrum-half prospect Richard Wilkinson – booked in for a knee operation today – the Dons took the lead on 16 minutes.

Hull FC centre Steve Michaels celebrated his Dons’ debut with a superb off-load to send winger Sam Doherty racing in at the corner.

Young Hull prop Bobby Tyson-Wilson, also showed promise and the two men could form part of the dual-registration agreement with the Super League club this season.

Leeds edged into a 6-4 lead but second-rower Mike Kelly’s close-range try on 33 minutes restored Doncaster’s lead.

Leeds regained the lead early in the second half only for centre Danny Cowling to put Doncaster back in front with a converted interception try.

But that was as good as it got for Cooke’s men as Leeds stamped their authority on the game as the Dons wilted in the final quarter.

Dons: Scott, Doherty, Michaels,Cowling, Vincent, Cooke, Kittrick,Tyson-Wilson, Emmett, Clarke, Palmer, Dunn, Snitch. Subs:Robinson, Waller, Foster, Walton,Waterman, Gilbey.