Richard Horne's 'nearly men' warning to Dons players after Widnes defeat

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​​Doncaster RLFC narrowly failed to claim a third successive Betfred Championship victory when going down 16-14 against third-placed Widnes Vikings in an entertaining encounter at the DCBL Stadium.

“We had the chance to win the game at the end but there were too many brain explosions - like Jason Tali passing the ball without looking on play one when we’ve got five more tackles to come on their line,” said head coach Richard Horne.

“It was a tired offload. It was Tali’s first game in a while and he got through the game okay and I thought he had a solid first half. We just need to get him more match fit.

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“I thought defensively we coped with everything they threw at us but they got us with a kick-play and a barge over, again probably due to fatigue.

Doncaster RLFC boss Richard HorneDoncaster RLFC boss Richard Horne
Doncaster RLFC boss Richard Horne

“I keep telling the boys what we need to do and they are working very hard in training but we are not quite getting it right at times on the field. But we aren’t a million miles away and we finished strongly.

“That came about with having a bit more of the ball because when you’ve got the ball you’ve got energy and when you haven’t you are getting sapped of energy.

“They are probably the third form team after Wakefield and Sheffield and the fact that they were hanging on at the end was encouraging. Credit to them they managed to see another game out in a position they’ve been in before in recent weeks.

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“I can’t fault the players’ efforts or their energy; we’ve just got to be a bit smarter. I just felt that we put ourselves under unnecessary pressure.

Picture via @Doncaster_RLFCPicture via @Doncaster_RLFC
Picture via @Doncaster_RLFC

“When we did put them under pressure we had some joy in scoring but we didn’t just quite do it enough. But we could have won the game and that is the frustrating thing because we need to see these sort of games out.

“We don’t want to go through the season just falling short in games because that won’t get us the position in the table where we want to be.”

Veteran second-rower Brett Ferres, who recently celebrated his 38th birthday, impressed Horne.

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“Brett’s a sort of a bit of a rock for the team at the moment,” said Horne. “He gives us that experience in linking with the halves and the left centre. We certainly look a lot more solid since he’s moved to the left edge.”