Doncaster RLFC: Dons face play-off trip to leaders Leigh

Tom Hodson scores for Dons in the home defeat to Batley.
Tom Hodson scores for Dons in the home defeat to Batley.

Doncaster face a daunting trip to face runaway leaders Leigh in the first round of the Championship play-offs on Sunday.

The Dons got the tie no-one wanted after dropping to fourth place in the table following yesterday’s 34-10 defeat home defeat against ninth-placed Batley Bulldogs.

Fortunately for the Dons, who could be without several players injured in yesterday’s final league game, they will get a second bite of the cherry should they lose at the Leigh Sports Village Stadium as a reward for finishing in the top-four.

Should that be the case they would entertain the winners of the Sheffield-Batley tie in the next round.

Dons’ boss Paul Cooke, who found himself well marked and unable to reproduce his match-winning display against third-placed Halifax a week earlier, offered no excuses.

“We just got beat up in every area (of the game),” said the veteran half-back.

“They didn’t do anything that we didn’t expect but we couldn’t handle them – particularly their back three, on the day.”

Despite trailing 18-6 at the break, Cooke said he still felt that the Dons, renowned for finishing strongly, could force their way back into contention in the second half.

“That’s what we spoke about at half-time and we got it back to 18-10 at one stage but I just felt that we ran out of energy in the second half as a result of how much ball we’d given them in the first half,” he said.

“We ran out of numbers in the end with players going off the field, but, as I say, there are no excuses.

“We were beaten by a more desperate team and we’ve got to find a way of coming up with some answers before Sunday’s game at Leigh.”