Doncaster RLFC suffer heavy home defeat to Swinton Lions

Doncaster RLFC were mauled by fellow Betfred League One promotion hopefuls Swinton Lions at the Eco-Power Stadium.

By Steve Hossack
Sunday, 10th April 2022, 8:40 pm
Updated Monday, 11th April 2022, 6:51 pm

The Lions raced in for 11 tries, ten of which were converted by full-back Daniel Abram, as they romped home 64-22 to claim their third win in as many starts.

Doncaster’s cause wasn’t helped when they had playmaker Ben Johnston sent off after remonstrating with an official after what appeared to be a knock-on in the build-up to Swinton’s third try went unpunished.

Johnston’s half-partnership with scrum-half Connor Robinson had played a big part in the club’s home win against Midlands Hurricanes on the opening day of the season.

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Jason Tali breaks clear to score for the Dons in their heavy defeat to Swinton Lions. Picture: Howard Roe/AHPIX.com

He also scored the club’s late consolation try in the disappointing 26-6 defeat at Keighley last weekend and he proved a big loss.

But so dominant were the impressive-looking visitors, who look a strong bet to make an immediate return to the Championship if they can continue to reproduce this sort of form on a regular basis, that the Dons would have been hard-pressed to change the outcome though the margin of defeat would likely have been less emphatic.

It didn’t help the Dons’ cause that they were without four of the side which started at Cougar Park.

However, the likes of veteran Ben Cockayne served the cause well on his first outing of the season, as did on-loan prop Ben Mathiou on his debut. Winger Tom Halliday also caught the eye.

Not for the first time this season, however, the performance of the pack will give coach Richard Horne grounds for concern with Zak Braham, who hung up his boots at the start of the campaign, still being sorely missed.

Doncaster’s hopes of avenging the lacklustre defeat at Keighley, another side expected to be challenging for honours, weren’t helped by Swinton’s quick-fire start which saw them grab two well-taken converted tries.

The Dons struggled to make the same yardage when in possession but hit back in style when the pacy Halliday celebrated his return to the side when beating his opposite number to get on the end of Johnston’s astute grubber kick over the line.

With scrum-half Jack Hansen pulling the strings, Swinton continued to look dangerous with ball in hand and second-rower Louis Brogan went over from the play-the-ball to give his side an 18-4 lead with just 17 minutes on the clock.

Forced to reorganise following Johnston’s subsequent dismissal, the Dons fell further behind before centre Jason Tali, a threat all afternoon, powered his way over for a 25th minute try to make it 24-10.

The Dons would probably have settled for that at half time but two quickly-taken tries out wide late in the half saw the Lions lead 34-10.

It was always going to be a damage-limitation exercise in the second half but the Dons, though conceding several soft tries, never threw in the towel and Tali crossed for a second try from close range prior to centre Robbie Storey crossing late on.