Doncaster RLFC v Batley Bulldogs: First target is survival, says Dons assistant coach

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​Doncaster RLFC will be looking to consolidate their place in the top half of the Betfred Championship when they tackle Batley Bulldogs at the Eco-Power Stadium on Sunday (3pm).

Despite suffering a narrow defeat last time out away to third-placed Widnes, assistant coach Chris Plume says the Dons will go into the game in a confident mood.

“We showed some guts (in defeat) at Widnes where we had a bit of adversity,” said Plume.

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“Losing one of our biggest players (Pauli Pauli) early on hurt us a little bit because we didn’t go heavy with forwards on the bench.

The Dons will be without Greg Burns this weekend.The Dons will be without Greg Burns this weekend.
The Dons will be without Greg Burns this weekend.

“But the rest of the players showed some real energy in the middle and they put in a lot of effort which is all we ask them to do.

“We’ve pushed some of the top teams this year – though we weren’t great against Featherstone – even though we didn’t win which is good.”

The Dons go into Sunday’s game in seventh place having performed much better to date than last season’s League One champions Dewsbury Rams but Plume is not getting carried away.

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“We are just striving to stay up first and foremost in our first season back in the Championship,” he said. “The plan going forward is just to try and keep winning as many games as we can and seeing how far (up the table) we can go.”

He added: “We are improving every year and the club works in the right way. The support that (CEO) Carl Hall gets from above is very good and Carl supports us as coaches really well and that enabled us to put a really competitive squad together.

“Batley have done well over the last few years but nothing is ever guaranteed at the start of a season. Whoever you are unless you turn up on the day you can get turned over in the Championship.

“They lost their head coach to Castleford at the end of last season and haven’t made the best of starts but they are a better team than their record this season would suggest.

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“They are always competitive and hard to beat – especially on their own ground – and we’ll certainly not be taking them lightly but we’ve mainly concentrated on ourselves in the build-up.”

The Dons will be without hooker Greg Burns, who starts a two-match suspension, in addition to prop Keelan Foster and centre Reece Lyne who continue to be sidelined with hamstring injuries.