Proud Dons boss takes heart from derby defeat to Sheffield Eagles

Doncaster RLFC failed to clip Sheffield Eagles’ wings for the eighth successive game but they had their chances to end a run of defeats dating back ten years in their Betfred Championship derby at the Eco-Power Stadium.
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Eagles, who also won 22-18 at the same ground in an 1895 Cup group game in February, edged another tight game between the two South Yorkshire rivals when coming from behind to claim a thrilling 26-20 win.

“It was a game that we could have won but we just needed to be smarter,” said head coach Richard Horne following one of the best Doncaster performances during his long spell in charge.

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“I thought their halves controlled the game a little bit better than what we did. We had our moments but we had few quality sets on their line (compared to Sheffield) and when we did we looked a little bit disorganised at times.

Josh Guzdek scores for the Dons. Picture: Andrew Roe/AHPIX LTDJosh Guzdek scores for the Dons. Picture: Andrew Roe/AHPIX LTD
Josh Guzdek scores for the Dons. Picture: Andrew Roe/AHPIX LTD

“But we’ll tidy that up (going forward) and it’s something that we can easily fix going into Sunday’s home game against Wakefield.

“It was our best performance of the season, even though we beat York and lost today, because they are a quality team and to be leading with less than 15 minutes to go and playing well was encouraging; we just needed to see out the game.

“But we knew that they would have their opportunities, which they did, and they capitalised on them but they had to work hard to get them.

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“I was proud of the effort the boys put in and the determination they showed and if they continue to do that we won’t be far away from getting results and the fact that we could have won today is the most disappointing thing.

“We had our chances late on but they scrambled well and stopped (winger) Luke Briscoe twice when he could have probably won the game for us.

“I’m sure a lot of people had written us off going into the game and expected them to put a score on us so to lose by just one try is encouraging.”

“I thought we looked a bit tired; we’d had two massive weeks but credit Doncaster,” said Eagles coach Mark Aston. “They are a very good team and I’ve said that all along and twelve months ago we might have lost the game.

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“In the end I was just pleased that we got the job done because a lot of teams are going to come here and get beat this season.”

Both coaches agreed that the supporters of both sides got value for money in what was a high quality contest.

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