Doncaster RLFC well beaten by title favourites Wakefield

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Pre-season title favourites Wakefield Trinity never looked like being blown off course at a windswept Eco-Power Stadium as they romped to a 42-6 Betfred Championship victory over Doncaster RLFC.

Even though the game was switched to the Eco-Power Stadium, it was still one that, on paper at least, the Dons weren’t expected to win given the strength of a full-time Trinity side, who under their new millionaire owner are targeting an immediate return to Super League.

But given the fact that the Dons had looked impressive in both their two opening games, Trinity had probably expected to be run closer than proved the case though the scoreline possibly flattered them slightly.

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No-one did more to bring about the Dons’ downfall than veteran half-back Luke Gale who earlier in his career had played a pivotal role in getting the club promoted during a season-long loan from Leeds.

Doncaster v Wakefield. Picture: Howard Roe/AHPIX.comDoncaster v Wakefield. Picture: Howard Roe/AHPIX.com
Doncaster v Wakefield. Picture: Howard Roe/AHPIX.com

The former Leeds, Hull FC and Castleford star claimed a hat-trick for the first time in recent seasons as he turned the clock back with an impressive all-round display behind a powerful pack which generated good ruck speed.

It was Gale who opened the scoring, after the Dons had started brightly, when touching down from his own grubber-kick on seven minutes.

Gale also had a hand in Trinity’s second try – his wind-affected high kick bounced favourably for a team-mate 40 metres out and the visitors had enough players up in support to create the chance for hooker Liam Hood to touch down under the posts despite a last-ditch cover tackle by winger Tom Halliday.

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The visitors claimed a third try in the first quarter when winger Lachlan Walmsley, the top try-scorer in the Championship last season when at Halifax, got away down the left before finding Jowitt on his inside who in turn raced home unopposed for a try he again converted to make it 18-0.

There never looked anyway back after that but, to their credit, the Dons dug deep and restricted Trinity to just one more first half try during which time former Wakefield favourite Pauli Pauli was held up over the line and an interception by scrum-half Connor Robinson could have possibly produced a score had he not lacked support just short of the halfway line,

The Dons got the second half off to the best possible start when Robinson, who also added the extras, capitalised on Trinity’s failure to clear the danger from a loose ball on their own line on 44 minutes.

They weren’t able to build on the try, however, with Hood adding a second in trademark style five minutes later which Jowitt again converted to restore Trinity’s 22-point lead.

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Trinity were well on top at this stage and, though the Dons continued to defend well, they could have scored again on a couple of occasions in the third quarter.

Johnston looked to have bagged a second try for the Dons on 64 minutes after jinking past several defenders only to be held up over the line and what could have been 28-10 with the simple conversion to come became 32-6 six minutes later as Gale bagged his second.

His half-back partner Mason Lino capped an impressive game when touching down three minutes from time following a kindly deflection with Gale completing his hat-trick from the last move of the game.

Dons: Guzdek, Briscoe, Lyne, Tali, Halliday Johnston, Robinson, Matagi, Lovodua, Foster, Pauli, Hey, Knowles. Subs: Smeaton, Holdstock, Hepi, Boas. 18th man: McConnell.

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