Pete Green is seen by many as a Doncaster RLFC head coach of the future.
But the former Dons skipper, who rejoined the club as assistant coach almost 12 months ago, is happy for now to be learning his trade working under Gary Thornton.
“They were dark days when I came back last year, culminating in relegation, and it was a difficult time to be involved,” said Green this week.
“Gary rebuilt the side and signed some good players but injuries hit us hard during pre-season training and the warm-up games and we had a number of players on the sidelines when the season kicked off.
“Due to the fact that a lot of the injured players were also some of our most experienced players or play-makers, we had to do it tough early on and it was difficult to ask some of the younger players to step up.
“That contributed to a couple of defeats in games we would have expected to win.
“We certainly feel that we are capable of competing against any other team in this division when we can turn our best side out.
“To say we've had our injury problems and we've had a tough start - we've only played one of the newer teams in the league - we are very happy to be where we are in the table because the standards of the traditional sides are very high.
“We've now got three back-to-back games against teams we should be expected to beat, including recent newcomers Coventry and Oxford, but we can't afford to take them for granted - particularly Newcastle.
“On the day any side can beat you if you don't prepare right and don't have the right attitude.
“That experience is something the more senior players bring to the team and it particularly benefits the younger players.”
One younger player, in particular, has impressed Green.
“Some players, such as George Milton and Jordan Howden - who recently made his debut after missing most of pre-season and the opening games - have an old head on young shoulders,” said Green.
“If you sit down and talk to Jordan you would think he'd been playing at this level for ten years or more. He's very knowledgeable and he's a smart player and he'll bring the guidance at half-back we were missing earlier in the season.
“He's softly-spoken but he says the right things and people listen. With another couple of games under his belt I think he is really going to come into his own.”