Doncaster RLFC v Newcastle Thunder: Team news and build-up ahead of Saturday's League One clash
Doncaster RLFC will climb back into the Betfred League One play-off places if they beat fifth-placed Newcastle at Featherstone on Saturday (12.30pm).
Despite claiming their third successive league win at second-placed Hunslet last Friday the Dons dropped out of the top six on points difference last weekend.
“It’s a massive game for us and one we need to win to keep in touch with the sides above us,” said assistant coach Pete Green.
“Although we beat Hunslet we didn’t play well on the night and made too many handling errors. We know we’ll have to control the ball better and build pressure against a Newcastle side which beat leaders Whitehaven.
“That result gives the chasing pack, including ourselves, a better chance of catching Whitehaven, who we play at Featherstone next month. But we can’t afford to squander that opportunity this weekend because we could find ourselves seven points adrift of them again.
“It’s unfortunate that due to the annual ground maintenance taking place at the Keepmoat Stadium that we are having to play Newcastle at Featherstone but it is what it is and we’ve got to make the best of the situation.
“We played there in the Challenge Cup earlier in the season and we’ve got two more games to play there in the next three weeks.
“It’s a traditional rugby league ground and it’s a good place to play.”
The Dons show several changes to the side which beat Hunslet at the South Leeds Stadium with winger Matty Chrimes missing the first of three successive games due to his selection for the England side contesting the Students Four Nations.
His place will be taken by rugby union trialist Guy Armitage, who recently turned out as a trialist with Hull FC Reserves
The former England RU Under-20 international, brother of former Doncaster Knights’ centre Bevan Armitage, has Premiership experience with Wasps.
The Dons will also lack the services of last weekend’s match-winner Cameron Scott.
The Hull FC centre, who has played on dual-reg in recent games, has joined Championship play-off hopefuls York City Knights on an initial month’s loan.
“It’s a massive blow because Cameron has been playing so well for us,” said Green.
“Fortunately, Connor Bower can slot in there but we lose his versatility.”
Prop Russ Spiers, who will make his 150th appearance for the club, has cut short a holiday to play.
“We originally had a blank weekend when we switched the game to the end of next month and Russ booked a few days away,” said Green.
“But he is keen to play and he’ll be coming home today.”
The Doncaster pack will be boosted by the return of dual-registered forward Levy Nzoungou following his two-match ban.
“It will be good to have Levy back because he brings a lot of energy to the side,” said Green.
The game will see on-loan stand-off/full-back Watson Boas return to the home of his parent club.