Dons boss delivers verdict on victory over West Wales Raiders

Doncaster RLFC climbed into the top-four of the Betfred League One table for the first time this season after making a winning return to the Eco-Power Stadium.

By Steve Hossack
Wednesday, 3rd August 2022, 11:25 am
Updated Wednesday, 3rd August 2022, 11:26 am

Their 62-6 win over visiting West Wales Raiders on Sunday and Rochdale’s heavy defeat at home to local rivals Swinton saw the Dons replace Hornets in fourth place on points difference.

The Dons ran in 12 tries with wingers Tom Halliday (3) and Jack Sanderson bagging five between them as they recorded their sixth successive win.

“We started okay and led 30-6 at half time,” said head coach Richard Horne.

The Dons have won six in a row. Picture: Liam Ford/AHPIX LTD

“It’s hard to keep the players motivated and maintain the intensity within games in those circumstances.

"So to score 62 points was pleasing, especially as we rested several players who were carrying little niggles and brought in some players who haven’t played for a few weeks or who were coming back from injuries.

“We wanted to give them some game time just in case they came into the frame for selection or we have to call upon them in the coming weeks.

“We are in a good position as regards the squad going into the run-in but that can change in a game.”

The game saw forward Brandan Wilkinson, dogged by a knee injury in the last couple of years, enjoy his first outing of the season off the bench.

Horne said: “He’s had a frustrating two years with knee injuries but I thought he did well when he came off the bench and it was great to see him out there.”

Horne was also pleased with the contribution of recent signing, prop Jose Kenga.

“We started him, which can be hard for a new player, but we wanted to set him that challenge and I thought he carried the ball strongly and didn’t make any errors and worked hard defensively,” said Horne.

In addition to being pleased to score 12 tries Horne was also happy with the Dons’ defensive efforts.

“They are a big outfit and if you give them possession near the line they’ll score points as they did in the first half,” he said.

“The body shapes of some of their forwards are hard to get a shot on and they can roll out of tackles and are quite hard to defend against – especially close to the line where it’s often all about one-on-one collisions.”

Play-maker Ben Johnston was substituted during the break, though he came back on with 13 minutes to play, and Horne was quick to reassure supporters that he hadn’t picked up an injury.

“He had a problem with his boot late in the first half but we had always intended to take him off at half-time,” said Horne.