​Dons face ‘baptism of fire’ as they make Championship return

Doncaster RLFC will be looking to celebrate their return to the Betfred Championship following relegation in 2016 with a victory when they entertain York Knights at the Eco-Power Stadium on Sunday (3pm).
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

​It will be the club’s first game since their Betfred Challenge Cup third round defeat at Widnes Vikings over a month ago.

In contrast the Knights played an extra Challenge Cup game in addition to booking their place in the semi-finals of the AB Sundecks 1895 Cup with a resounding win over Oldham ten days ago.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The Dons have increased the intensity of their training in the last month or so but head coach Richard Horne is the first to admit that nothing can replicate the demands of a competitive game.

Doncaster RLFCDoncaster RLFC
Doncaster RLFC

Although three of their first four games are at home, the Dons could hardly have had a tougher start given the stature of the teams they will face during that period.

They face relegated Wakefield Trinity, Featherstone Rovers, who finished top of the Championship last season, Sheffield Eagles and York, both of whom finished in the play-offs in 2023.

“We’ve got a tough start and it’s going to be a baptism of fire but we are up for the challenge,” said Horne. “York are a quality team who are well coached but we are ready for the challenge and despite not having managed to fix up a friendly since the Widnes game we think we know our best team and how we want to play.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Knights pulled off one of the most notable signings by a Championship club during the close season when persuading Ritchie Myler, who had been one of Leeds Rhinos’ top players last season, to drop down from Super League. A proven match-winner on his day, Myler will pose a threat to the Doncaster defence which will have to perform better than it did at times against the Vikings if they are to get off to a winning start.

The last time the two clubs met in league action was back in the 2018 season when Knights followed up a narrow 16-14 win at the Keepmoat with a 31-16 win at Bootham Crescent.

Scrum-half Connor Robinson played a big part in securing York promotion that season finishing the top goal-kicker and the top points scorer in the division just as he did when helping the Dons win promotion last season.

Former Super League forward Pauli Pauli also played for the Knights last season.