Tony Miller says the Dons are on the right track - despite defeat to Dewsbury Rams in the Northern Rail Cup.
Determined Doncaster burst out of the traps and rattled the Rams with their aggressive running and tenacious tackling - surging into a 12-0 lead - before the Championship side fought back to win an absorbing contest 30-18 at the Keepmoat Stadium.
Miller told the Free Press this week he thought his side would have emerged victorious had half back Craig Fawcett not pulled his thigh in the warm-up and had it not been for some over-zealous refereeing.
But despite the defeat, which ended the Dons’ hopes of reaching the quarter-finals, Miller remains full of hope ahead of his side’s trip to Rochdale Hornets on Sunday for their final Pool A fixture.
Miller said: “I’m really proud of the boys’ efforts.
“Considering all the disruptions we had, it was a very good display.
“Craig pulled out just before the game with a thigh injury and I’m convinced we would have won had he played.
“We also lost our captain [Shaun Leaf] in the first ten minutes and Jack Ely and Liam Crawley both had to come off injured during the game so we ran out of substitutes in the end.
“So to play like we did against a Championship side like Dewsbury was very pleasing.
“We also had a perfectly good try disallowed and were penalised six times for not playing the ball correctly - but I’ve watched the game back on video and the referee got it wrong five times.
“He’d read the league’s directive and was told to specifically look at it.
“But twice he got it wrong when we were within touching distance of their line - and that really cost us.”
Paul Hughes forced himself over between the posts and Craig Robinson’s momentum saw him ride a tackle to notch Doncaster’s second try - both goaled by Scott Spaven - to give them a deserved advantage against Dewsbury with 12 minutes on the clock.
But Anthony England, Scott Turner and man of the match Dom Brambani scored three quick-fire first half tries, all converted by Brambani, as the Dons’ defence temporarily buckled.
Adam Scott raised hopes of a comeback when he went over in the second half but scores from Luke Blake and Josh Tonks sealed Dewsbury’s ram-raid.
Miller said: “We’ve got a few injuries but I want us to go to Rochdale this weekend and perform.
“We’re heading in the right direction and it’s important to keep that momentum going.”
Leaf (sternum), Fawcett, Mick Butterfield (illness), Ely (knee) and Crawley (shoulder) are all doubtful for this weekend.