Doncaster RLFC: Chief executive Carl Hall dreaming of Wembley glory

Carl Hall
Carl Hall

Doncaster RLFC chief executive Carl Hall never realised his boyhood dream of playing in a Rugby League Challenge Cup final at Wembley.

“We used to get up in the early hours back home in New Zealand to watch the likes of Kevin Iro and James Leuluai playing in the final,” said the former Junior Kiwi.

“It was definitely an ambition to play there when I first came over to the UK to join Doncaster in the late 80s.

“I played in four semi-finals for Bradford and Leeds and finished on the losing side in every one of them.

“Leeds beat Bradford twice while I was there and then when I moved to Leeds, Bradford won both.

“I always said that I’d never go to Wembley unless it was as a player but I broke that pledge when I went down on a club trip.

“One of the things which struck me is the fact that the names of all the previous finalists are flashed around the stadium before the kick-off and that there are several other teams apart from Bradford currently in League One who have been to Wembley and we haven’t. I’d love to change that sometime in the future.

“I know that people will say that it’s a pipe dream and that it will never happen. But if you don’t set yourselves targets, you just stand still.

“Obviously we’ve got to climb up the leagues first and build a strong team but I will do everything in my power to try and make it happen.

“We’ve already created history in recent years by becoming the first Doncaster side ever to finish top of a league and we also finished in the top four of the Championship.”

There has been talk of moving the final once the current contract runs out, with some people calling for it to be switched to the Midlands or the North.

Neither appeals to Hall.

“I’m a traditionalist and I like Wembley,” he said. “It is unique and every player still wants to play there and I wouldn’t be in favour of taking it away from there.”

Although Hall won’t be at this weekend’s final he will still be taking an interest.

But his main focus is on the Dons making the League One promotion play-off finals and his belief that they can not only make the top five but also make an impact was boosted by Sunday’s excellent win at Whitehaven.

“We’ve given ourselves a really good chance of finishing third,” he said.