Doncaster RLFC: Cooke urges Dons to build momentum for away run

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Paul Cooke insists it is vital the Dons continue their improvement against struggling Rochdale this weekend.

Head coach Cooke felt the 50-20 scoreline the Dons were on the wrong end of at table-topping Leigh was not reflective of their performance.

Pleased with the upturn in performance from his side, Cooke wants them to improve further against visiting Rochdale on Sunday.

“The main thing we were after when we went to Leigh was improvement,” Cooke said.

“We’d been really poor in the two previous games and knew we needed to be better against the best team in the competition.

“We got that improvement and it was never a 30 point margin game.

“Leigh got us twice in the second half with quick doubles which was disappointing but we were better than 50-20.

“It’s vital we continue that improvement on Sunday.

“The last home game against Barrow showed how much you’ve got to be on your game in this division.

“We got away with a win we didn’t deserve by the skin of our teeth then and we’ve got to be on our game or we’ll struggle against Rochdale.”

This weekend’s clash with Barrow is the Dons’ final home game for a month as the Keepmoat pitch will be relayed.

And Cooke says it is important they head on their travels with a win under their belts.

He said: “It’s the first time this season we’ve lost back to back games and we need to respond to that.

“We’ve only lost once at home this season and we’ve managed to turn the Keepmoat into a place where teams don’t look forward to coming.

“It’s important we continue that in this last home game for a month.

“We’ve got a tough run of fixtures coming up and we need to go to them with mometum.

“Rochdale will be a tough test. They ran Halifax really close last weekend and they’ll be up for this one.”

Cooke confirmed Lee Waterman will be out for six to 12 weeks after dislocating his shoulder against Leigh.

He said: “It’s disappointing for Lee because he’s struggled with injuries this year.

“It’s likely to be the full 12 weeks that he’s out because the shoulder keeps popping out but hopefully we’ll have him back for the play-offs we hope to be in.

“Lee’s absence will give other players the chance to come in and impress.

“A few were left out because of their performances in previous games but now they will have the chance to stake their claim again.”