Doncaster RLFC v Hull FC: Dons set for pre-season opener
Doncaster RLFC will step up their preparations for their 2019 Betfred League One campaign when they take on Hull FC at the Keepmoat Stadium on Sunday.
The Black and Whites, who have regularly featured in the Dons' pre-season campaign in recent years, are the first of three Super League sides scheduled to visit the Keepmoat this month '“ the others being Leeds Rhinos and promoted London Broncos.
Assistant coach Pete Green says that both he and head coach Richard Horne are pleased with how pre-season training has gone and that the players are looking forward to getting back into competitive action.
With the bulk of the squad comprising of players who were at the club last season, the coaching staff are confident their charges will quickly find some cohesion whilst accepting there will be the inevitable early-season rustiness.
Sunday's game will also be the first played by Hull who subsequently visit fellow top flight sides Wakefield Trinity and St Helens prior to kicking off their Super League campaign away to derby rivals Hull Kingston Rovers on February 1.
The Dons will have to wait several weeks longer to kick-off their campaign.
TheyÂ have pencilled in a weekend at an army training camp in between their final warm-up game against the Broncos, who also travelled up to South Yorkshire last January, and their league One opener away to Newcastle Thunder in the middle of next month.
The two teams will be looking to show their respective supporters that they are on track for a successful campaign during their pre-season games after both finished last season on a disappointing note.
Having put together a record-breaking run in the closing weeks of the season to claim third spot, the Dons fell at the first hurdle in the play-offs despite having home advantage against Workington Town.
Hull's injury-hit side suffered a string of heavy defeats and head coach Lee Radford, who has always played fair with the Dons during their dual-registration agreement, came under intense pressure.
He will be particularly keen to show that his charges -Â back-to-back Challenge Cup winners in 2016 and 2017 - are once again primed to challenge for the major honours after such a disappointing campaign.
Several of the Hull players expected to be on duty at the weekend are likely to turn out for the Dons on occasions during their league campaign.
Two members of their squad, whose identities had not been made public at the start of the week, will also join Horne's side on season-long loans like young full-back/winger Jack Sanderson did to good effect last season.