'Busted' Doncaster RLFC battling to hold onto play-off spot

Chief executive Carl Hall has revealed the crippling injury list which is threatening to undermine Doncaster RLFC’s promotion push.

By Paul Goodwin
Thursday, 26th August 2021, 3:18 pm
Dons chief executive Carl Hall. Picture: Marie Caley

Hall spoke out last week amid concern from supporters following a run of just one win in seven games.

The patched-up Dons responded by producing arguably their best performance of the season to beat title-chasing Barrow Raiders on Sunday.

But, with just two points separating Doncaster in fourth and Hunslet in seventh, Richard Horne’s side are by no means guaranteed a top six finish and a place in the play-offs.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The club had an outbreak of Covid last month and Hall says they have been ‘busted’ by an injury pile-up.

“We were flying during the first round of the season but we're doing it really tough at the moment,” Hall said.

“Covid's been around everywhere for all of the teams so no excuses from our end.

“We've got quite a few injuries that not many people know about.

“Sam Doherty's struggling with work so he can only play when he can play.

“Brandon Douglas has a fractured knee, Brad Foster's got a groin injury, [Brandan] Wilkinson needs surgery on his knee, Ben Johnston has a knee injury, Watson Boas has done his ACL, Josef Fella is out for some time with a stomach and groin injury, Misi [Taulapapa] has broken his arm, Jordie Hedges is out, Matty [Beharrell] was banned last week [against Rochdale].

“We started with 28 players and then we had the likes of Russ [Spiers] and Kieran Cross left the club for their own reasons.

"Josh Rickett got a new job and can't make training sessions and can't commit. Harry Carter had Covid and had a big job on at work and he decided he couldn't commit so he left the club.

“That's where we are but no excuses, it's the same with everyone and we have to get through it.

“We're busted. But so is every other club. It's not my style to make excuses. We put 17 players on the field to play 17 players.”

Doncaster had looked like mounting a challenge for automatic promotion earlier in the season but must now hold their nerve to finish in the top six.

They host League One leaders Workington Town on Sunday before concluding the regular season with home games against Coventry and Keighley.

It’s currently unclear whether the home game against North Wales, postponed last month under the Covid fixture protocols, will be rearranged – with league positions determined by win percentage.

Hall insists this season has to be put into context after the club went 14 months without a game during the pandemic.

"We thought we'd be coming into these last few home games challenging but we're battling to stay in the play-offs,” he said.

"So it's hard. But at the start of the season I said if we get through this year - after over a year of the players being out - that's a success.

“It's really difficult. And it's not excuses. I don't want to sound like I'm making excuses for the peformances but we're doing it tough, it's as simple as that.”