Dons ‘just not good enough’ in damaging defeat, admits Horne

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Doncaster RLFC’s Betfred League One title hopes suffered a potential knockout blow when crashing to a 28-8 defeat against Hunslet at a windy South Leeds Stadium.

The second-placed Dons, who have two games in hand, now trail unbeaten leaders Dewsbury by seven points and risk being caught by Hunslet and Oldham.

“We still have to play Dewsbury at home but automatic promotion is now out of our hands and if that proves to be the case we’ve got to make sure we hang on to second spot,” said head coach Richard Horne after he emerged from a lengthy post-match discussion with CEO Carl Hall and his coaching staff.

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“I’m very disappointed; it just wasn’t good enough. You can sometimes cope with two or three players having a bad day but today it was eight or nine.

Action from Doncaster's defeat at Hunslet. Picture: Kev Creighton/KC PhotographyAction from Doncaster's defeat at Hunslet. Picture: Kev Creighton/KC Photography
Action from Doncaster's defeat at Hunslet. Picture: Kev Creighton/KC Photography

“Our completion rate was nowhere near good enough and we just didn’t give ourselves a chance. We also gave away four play-five penalties in our half and you are inviting your opponents on to your try-line when you do that.

“Ben Johnston and Jason Tali were late pull-outs which didn’t help and we had to move the team about. Obviously you are going to miss those sort of players but I still felt that we put out a team capable of winning the game.

“It was a big gamble playing Watson (Boas) in Ben’s place considering he’s only been back over here for around ten days and hasn’t played since playing for PNG in the World Cup in November.

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"He looked great in training but he didn’t get his hands on the ball much and he’ll have a mini pre-season over the next three weeks during which we’ve got two blank weekends.

"Scrum-half Connor (Robinson), who has probably been one of the form players in the competition, probably had his worst game of the season.

“Despite all that we felt we gave ourselves an opportunity to get back into the game when scoring the two tries late in the first half to close the gap to eight points after trailing 16-0 at one stage.

“We spoke at half time about needing to move them about because they are a big side but our first four sets we did one-out carries which made it easy for them to defend and they kept us pinned down and scored first.

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“Like ourselves, they came up with a few errors which gave us good field position but we were so badly organised, which wasn’t like us, and we could see from the stand that it wasn’t going to be our day.”