Doncaster look to raise their level again for Friday night clash at Hunslet

Doncaster RLFC boss Richard Horne has conceded defeat in the bid to claim second spot in Betfred League One ahead of their final away game against Hunslet Hawks at the South Leeds Stadium on Friday night.
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Their hopes of clinching second spot, which would have secured them home advantage in the play-off final should they have got that far, were dashed following their home defeat against leaders Keighley on Sunday and North Wales Crusaders’ win over Rochdale.

Although the Dons could still pip Swinton Lions for third place they would need to win their last two games and for Swinton to draw a blank.

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With Swinton expected to beat local rivals Oldham this weekend, Horne said: “Realistically, it’s looking like we are aiming to hang on to fourth place.”

Doncaster's players celebrate Misi Taulapapa's try against Keighley. Picture: Howard Roe/AHPIX.comDoncaster's players celebrate Misi Taulapapa's try against Keighley. Picture: Howard Roe/AHPIX.com
Doncaster's players celebrate Misi Taulapapa's try against Keighley. Picture: Howard Roe/AHPIX.com

Horne, though, is happy that his squad look to be in better shape than a lot of other sides who are carrying a lot of injuries, as the Dons hit the business end of the season.

Horne says the quality of the club’s training ground at Cantley Park has played its part in helping to reduce the number of injuries as has the quality of the club’s medical team.

Horne hinted after the Keighley game, where he felt a lot of players under-performed, that he was considering making changes for the trip to Leeds.

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“Although we had won eight games on the trot going into the Keighley game, we hadn’t played particularly well in the two previous games so it might be time to freshen things up,” he said.

Stand-off Ben Johnston looks set to start after missing the last three games.

“We miss him when he doesn’t play,” said Horne. “He makes things happen and he could have made a difference had he played against Keighley.”

Looking ahead to the game against sixth-placed Hawks, Horne said: “If we don’t perform on the night then we’ll not come away with a result. But if we play to our capabilities, then we’ll get the job done.

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“The boys were disappointed in the dressing room after the game on Sunday because they knew they hadn’t performed as we wanted. They know that we need to get back to the level we were at when we beat North Wales and Swinton away from home a few weeks ago in our last two games and the play-offs.”