Carl Hall on Doncaster RLFC's preparations for 2021, fixture scheduling and Crowdfunder response

Doncaster RLFC chief executive Carl Hall wants to see the 2021 season re-jigged to help players following the long lay-off.
Dons chief executive Carl Hall. Picture: Marie CaleyDons chief executive Carl Hall. Picture: Marie Caley
Dons chief executive Carl Hall. Picture: Marie Caley

Hall, whose tenure as RFL vice president has been extended until this December, has called for the earlier rounds of the 1895 Cup – a knockout competition for Championship and League 1 clubs – to be played as a forerunner to the new league season.

The Dons played just six competitive games this year before the season ended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Asked about preparations for next season, Hall told BBC Radio Sheffield: “The players are all still on furlough. They'll be on furlough until the end of October I presume.

“Everything really depends on when the season is going to start. There have been meetings and a few things have been proposed.

“I made a proposal on the 1895 Cup – maybe we could look at bringing that forward a little bit and using it as a pre-season. We've had no rugby for that long.

“We play midweek games in the 1895 Cup and that is a real tough burden on Championship and certainly League 1 clubs.

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“Hopefully we can jig things around and have a look at that. If we could play two or three rounds early it would lessen the burden.

“One thing we don't want is hardly any disruptions next year in a World Cup year.”

Doncaster’s squad are set to report back in November – and an even tougher pre-season than usual awaits them.

“Our strength and conditioning coach wasn't furloughed so I'm sure he'll be giving the boys some programmes,” said Hall.

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“But we can't do anything with them because they're on furlough. The coach can't do anything with them.

“We'll look at starting pre-season in early November and start planning for that now.

“They're going to have to put a bit more work into the players with them not playing for so long. You can't just switch it back on.

“That was one of the reasons we didn't enter the 125-year anniversary cup because I genuinely thought we'd be picking up some injuries and medical bills if we pulled the boys back in and had only two or three weeks before getting back onto the field.”

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Meanwhile, Hall says he has been ‘humbled’ by the response to the club’s Crowdfunder scheme – designed to help bridge the shortfall created by the pandemic.

Fans can donate towards various packages, including the option for their name to be printed on the new home shirt.

“I've been blown away with it,” said Hall. “From day one we've done quite well.

“When you lose a game of rugby the same supporters who vent their frustrations at you want to give you a cuddle as soon as there's a little bit of adversity. That is so humbling and makes it all worthwhile.

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“You know that everybody's there for the right reasons and we all want the same goal which is the club to do well.

“We're grateful and thankful.

“The rugby league family really does pull together when times are tough. It's when they show their true colours.”