Doncaster player-coach Paul Cooke is probably feeling more optimistic about the club’s Championhip prospects this season than some of the fans.
Some supporters will take little comfort from the fact that the club lost all four warm-up games.
The Dons ended their pre-season schedule on Sunday by going down 42-14 to a young Leeds Rhinos team.
However, Cooke is confident he can put things right before the big kick-off away to relegated London Broncos on Sunday week.
“The positive thing is that we’ve got nearly two weeks to work on the areas we need to work on as a team and individually,” he said.
However, Cooke has made it clear that any players not meeting the standards that he has laid down for the squad, in what is predicted to be the most challenging Championship campaign yet, will have no future at the club.
There were certainly many aspects of Sunday’s game, in particular the first half display, which pleased Cooke following the humiliating defeat against Hunslet a week earlier.
“We started with a lot more intensity because, as I said to the players in training, the performance against Hunslet had better be a one-off because it was as bad a performance as I’ve seen during my involvement with the club,” said Cooke.
“The players had got it in the neck in training regarding contact and intensity and I thought we started with a real intensity and vigour.
“That stood us in good stead until the opening minutes of the second half when we made a number of changes.
“The most disappointing period of the game was a 15-minute spell after half time.
“We didn’t have any possession and when we did get the ball we gave them it back with an early tackle count error.
“I can’t recall us having a good set in the second half because of the mistakes and that allowed them to strangle the life out of us.”
n ‘Marquee signing’ Mitch Clark has been granted a British passport.
Clark, who was born in England but learnt his trade at NRL side Penrith Panthers, joined Doncaster in December.
n The Dons are looking to recruit a voluntary Supporter Liaison Officer to enhance the relationship between the club and their supporters.
Anyone interested in the position should send a CV and covering letter to firstname.lastname@example.org before Friday, February 6.