Record-breaker Sam Smeaton hails Dons' team spirit after play-off victory

Doncaster RLFC skipper Sam Smeaton, who has led from the front this year, finally set a new club record for tries in a season by a forward in Sunday’s play-off win at Hunslet.
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“I’ll probably look back on breaking the record (set nearly 40 years ago by forward Kevin Parkhouse) at the end of the season with some satisfaction, but I was more pleased with the win,” said the second-rower who had been stuck on 19 for several weeks prior to going over at the death in the club’s 26-14 win over the side who had finished above them in the regular season.

“I’m really pleased for Sam," said head coach Richard Horne. “He had been unwell during the week and hadn’t trained and that probably affected his performance on Sunday when I felt he was one of the players who had quiet game.

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“He’s had really solid season and in terms of the go-between between me and the lads he makes my job a lot easier”

Sam Smeaton celebrates his record-breaking try. Picture: Howard Roe/AHPIX.comSam Smeaton celebrates his record-breaking try. Picture: Howard Roe/
Sam Smeaton celebrates his record-breaking try. Picture: Howard Roe/

Looking ahead, Smeaton said: “We still need one more win. The bookies will probably fancy we’ll be facing Hunslet in the final but North Wales have come good in the play-offs as we’ve done on the past.

“We didn’t make the best of starts and we were a bit scrappy in the first half at times and, to be fair, we probably should have been further behind at half time than 10-8. So credit to all the boys for digging in and forcing them into a few errors.

“The pitch was dewy and there was a lot of moisture in the air but we still should have handled better than we did, especially in the first half.

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“They scored first after the break to lead 14-8 and they must have fancied themselves to kick on from there but we are a tough team to beat and if we are on our game, or anywhere near it, we know that we can cause teams problems when we’ve got the ball.

“Hunslet are also a team that cause you problems, and they’ve been great all year, but we’ve got a fantastic team spirit and that makes us very hard to beat.

“As a group of players we all get on and there is a great camaraderie and any new player from another club who has come in has bought into that.”