'We need to better over 80 minutes' - Dons coach reacts to London Skolars victory with play-offs on the horizon

Doncaster RLFC paid the price for a below-par first half display in their final Betfred League One game of the regular season at the Eco-Power Stadium.
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“It was a game of two halves and we just gave ourselves too much to do in the second half to claim third spot,” said head coach Richard Horne, reflecting on the club’s 70-22 win over London Skolars.

The Dons went into the game needing to win by 51 points or more to pip North Wales Crusaders – who they will now face in the play-offs – for third and Horne told the Free Press that he didn’t think the task was beyond them

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“We know that we’ve got points in us so we thought we could do it,” he said.

Greg Burns dives over to score against London. Picture: Andrew Roe/AHPIX LTDGreg Burns dives over to score against London. Picture: Andrew Roe/AHPIX LTD
Greg Burns dives over to score against London. Picture: Andrew Roe/AHPIX LTD

“Obviously the main thing was to win the game and hold on to fourth place at least with Rochdale breathing down our necks.

“We were poor in the first half especially in the first half hour or so, and we didn’t make the start we had hoped for and they led 16-6 at one stage.

“When we went to their place, even though we ran out comfortable winners in the end, for the first 25 minutes or so we were in a game, so we weren’t surprised that they started well.

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“It didn’t help that three of their tries came from kicks. It wasn’t Misi’s best game today and he was kicking himself afterwards.

“We knew that after that first half it was going to be a big ask to get the points we needed. We knew we had to stop them scoring again and that we needed a fair share of the ball and had to take any chances which came our way and we did that.

“It’s credit to the players, particularly Connor (Robinson) who probably produced his best performance for a long time as well as kicking eleven goals, that they did that and it was disappointing to come up just short. But we shouldn’t have found ourselves in that situation.

“As I said the response in the second half was great and we scored some good tries but we are not where we need to be in the play-offs just yet. We need to be better over the 80 minutes.”

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The Dons, who were without injured centre Robbie Storey (ankle) and PNG international half-back Watson Boas, who suffered concussion in the win at Hunslet. picked up a couple of injuries in Sunday’s game with man-of-the-match Jason Tali suffering a broken nose and winger Jack Sanderson an ankle injury.