Doncaster RLFC v London Broncos: Dons set for opening pre-season friendly
Head coach Richard Horne is determined to get as much out of pre-season as possible.
But he knows the Dons will be judged from the first whistle of the new League One season.
Doncaster host Championship side London Broncos in their opening friendly on Sunday (3pm).
They face Batley Bulldogs the following weekend before their league opener with Coventry Bears at the Keepmoat Stadium on February 18.
Horne is preparing for his first full season in charge, with the Dons aiming to better last season’s disappointing sixth-placed finish.
“Everyone says pre-season has gone well but it’s down to us to put that into action when the game starts,” Horne told Dons’ official website. “Hopefully the boys will have taken on board what we want them to do.
“Bringing the lads in earlier has allowed them to improve their strength and fitness from last season considerably. Once the games start we’ll know more about which players need more work.
“We’ve had a little run out behind closed doors against Hull and we went well in that, we played really well and got some real positives out of it.”
Horne’s winter recruitment has lowered the age of the squad and the head coach has called for the club’s younger players to take more responsibility both on and off the pitch.
“The squad is hungry, we’ve got a lot of talented boys in the group who want to be playing at a higher level so we want to help them on that path and make them really good players for the Dons,” he said.
“We don’t want to be in this division for too long as our ambition is to play higher, and that’s the motivation for the squad here.
“I think everyone has to prove themselves as it’s a fresh start for the club, the pre-season games allow the players to impress and make sure they’re in the team for the first league game.”
n New signings Liam Harris and Ryan Boyle have been given squad numbers seven and 10 respectively, while fellow new recruit Richard Owen will wear the number one shirt.
1 Richard Owen, 2 Aaron Jones-Bishop, 3 Liam Welham, 4 Jason Tali, 5 Sam Doherty, 6 Jordan Howden, 7 Liam Harris, 8 Russ Spiers, 9 Kyle Kesik, 10 Ryan Boyle, 11 Brad England, 12 Jason Muranka, 13 Jordie Hedges, 14 Connor Scott, 15 Kieran Cross, 16 Zac Braham, 17 Jack Miller, 18 Charlie Martin, 19 Connor Bower, 21 Jez Litten, 22 Jordan Lane, 23 Ross Osborne, 24 Jack Sanderson, 26 Brandan Wilkinson.