Dons ready to tackle Hunslet for play-off final spot

Doncaster RLFC go into Sunday’s Betfred League One promotion play-off semi-final against Hunslet at the South Leeds Stadium just 80 minutes away from a third successive final.
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The losers of the game between the sides which finished second and third in the regular season will have a second crack at reaching the final when taking on the winners of the Oldham-North Wales Crusaders tie.

But Dons boss Richard Horne is looking to get the job done this weekend ans secure home advantage in the final.

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Hunslet took full advantage of a below-par performance by the Dons to run out comfortable 28-8 winners when the two sides met in the regular season in early July.

Dons' Albert Vete drives to the try line against Oldham. Picture: Howard Roe/AHPIX.comDons' Albert Vete drives to the try line against Oldham. Picture: Howard Roe/
Dons' Albert Vete drives to the try line against Oldham. Picture: Howard Roe/

Second going into that game, the Dons lacked several key men including influential stand-off Ben Johnston and were forced to play PNG international Watson Boas, who was nowhere near match fit having only just returned to the country, in the half-backs.

The Dons hope to be at full strength this weekend. Horne was due to check on winger Travis Corion after he pulled out on the eve of last weekend’s win over Oldham at last night’s training session but has plenty of cover including veteran Misi Taulapapa if he is ruled out.

Horne, who has boosted his squad in recent weeks with the short-term acquisitions of Super League stars Albert Vete and Mahe Fonua, feels the team is in much better shape going into Sunday’s tie on a ground where they have an excellent record in recent years.

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“I’d like to think we are playing a lot better now than we did on that day but we’ll find out on Sunday,” he said.

“We know that we are up against a very good Hunslet team who finished the season really well.

“They finished the regular season with a better defensive record than us, although we’ve kept a blank sheet in three of our last four games, and if we don’t complete well they have the players to capitalise on our errors.”

Disappointed with the turn-out against Oldham which was streamed live, Horne is urging the Doncaster fans to make the journey to the South Leeds Stadium.

“The fans make a difference when they get behind us,” said Horne, who questioned the economics of the play-offs being shown live with no financial rewards to the competing clubs.