High-flying Doncaster had to survive a late rally by Swinton Lions to claim the spoils in yesterday’s Championship clash at the Keepmoat Stadium.
From looking to be on their way to a fourth successive win in comfortable fashion when leading the 12-man Lions 30-6 early in the second half, the Dons found themselves desperately hanging on at the death after Swinton had scored four unanswered tries to close the gap to 36-34.
Dons player-coach Paul Cooke, who returned to action after missing the win over unbeaten Leigh seven days earlier, admitted that his side had made hard work of victory.
“It wasn’t a good performance,” he admitted. “I thought that we looked a bit flat at the start.
“We put ourselves in a really good position with 25 minutes on the clock but the thing which most concerned me was the way Swinton rolled us down the field with only 12 players and almost got a result,” he said
“I didn’t ever think the result was in jeopardy until they cut the deficit to two points (in the 77th minute) but what concerned me was the amount of territory when it was 36-12.
“I decided to leave some people out (to rest players) and changed the structure a bit.
“But I thought that if there was a right time to do that this was the game bearing in mind that they have been struggling and have a new coach having lost player-coach Ian Watson.
“We’ve got some work to do this week in training. We won’t get away with playing like we did against Swinton at Keighley on Sunday.”
The game marked the debut of Pasqualle Dunn, who joined the club from Leicester Tigers Rugby Union Club.