Liam Welham believes more older and wiser heads will give Doncaster a better chance of getting out of Kingstone Press League One.
The Dons launch their league campaign against Coventry Bears at the Keepmoat Stadium on Sunday.
And strong-running centre Welham feels the squad is more aware of the challenge facing them and is more focused than 12 months ago.
“I think some of the younger players took League One a little bit for granted last season,” he said.
“Some people thought that with the calibre of players we had that it was going to be easy if I’m being honest - especially against some of the newer teams – but that didn’t prove to be the case.
“No disrespect to some of those players no longer here because you need to think about the future.
“But you can have too many young players and that was probably the case last season.
“The club have brought in some more experienced players who know what the game is all about and Gary Thornton has put together a very good squad – certainly better than last season.
“We know what we’ve got to do in the 15-game league campaign but we are just taking it one game at a time.
“The main focus is qualifying for the Super 8s and then making sure we get into the play-offs in a high a position as we possibly can.
“But to do that we’ve got to play to our strengths and get it right tactically. We’ve got some good half-backs as well as a good outside edge but you can’t try and go wide too early - you have to earn the right.
“We’ve probably got the biggest pack in the league so hopefully they can help lay the foundations for a successful promotion campaign.”
Welham missed key games at end of last season as the Dons’ hopes of an immediate return to the Championship were dashed.
It was expected that Welham would go under the knife during the close season but he said this week: “I was told the operation would only improve my shoulder cosmetically.”
Welham admits that the injury remains a problem in certain situations but is confident that it won’t affect his game.
“I did the opposite shoulder when I was 16 and that’s okay now so I know what to expect and I’m confident the rehab I’m doing will resolve the problem.”