Dons back in action after 427-day wait
The Dons will play for the first time in 427 days when they start their Betfred League One campaign at Keighley Cougars today – much to the relief of Richard Horne.
“The garden’s looking better than it ever has,” joked the head coach, reflecting on the last 14 months.
“I’ve been doing plenty of jobs round the house. The things you put off because of rugby I’ve had to get stuck into.
“The weekends have been very long without rugby. You’re always thinking about it in the back of your mind and also planning.
“We started last year, we got two games in, and you’re having to make judgements on players to keep for the following season based on those two games.
“You’re also strengthening areas you think you need to strengthen as a group which I believe we have done.”
The Dons opted out of this year’s Challenge Cup and Horne chose not to arrange any pre-season friendly games.
“The Challenge Cup was a big call for us because we were really keen to be involved in it,” he said.
“But having to play those preliminary rounds with what would have been only three weeks of training under our belt after a year off, we just didn’t feel the players were ready physically or mentally to be involved in that.
“It was a tough decision to withdraw from that because of the history of it and some of our best performances have been in the cup.
“It’s been hard not to arrange the friendlies too. I just wanted the boys to get physically ready for playing before they actually do.”