Last season’s leading try-scorer Jason Tali is hoping to be back in contention for Doncaster RLFC’s trip to the Recreation Ground on Sunday to face Betfed League One rivals Whitehaven.
The former Papua New Guinea Test star sat out last weekend’s Coral Challenge Cup win over Coventry Bears with a hamstring problem.
“It was a tough game; they came to play,” he reflected.
“Our first half performance, especially the first 20 minutes, was very disappointing.
“The boys finished well, though, and scored some good tries in the last 20 minutes.
“We play them in our next home game in the league and that will be another tough test based on Friday’s encounter.
“Hopefully we will have a stronger side on the day with our dual-registered players available and other players back from injury.
“Before then we’ve got to go up to Whitehaven and everyone knows it’s always tough to win up in Cumbria.
“We’ve had a tough run of games at the start of our league programme and by Sunday evening we’ll have played against most of the sides expected to be challenging for either automatic promotion or the play-offs.
“If we can come back with a win from Whitehaven that would be three from four that we’d won which would be a good start to the season.
“It’s good for us to be playing the top teams at the start of the season because it gives us an opportunity to see how we compare with them. We will know what we are doing right and areas we need to work on going forward.
“We were all disappointed to miss out on promotion last year and to lose at home in the semi-final was hard to take.
“But it’s a new year, we’ve got one or two new players, and hopefully we’ll finally get back up again.
“Although the league is our priority we’d also like to do well in both the Challenge Cup and the new 1895 Cup, which gives teams outside Super League their best chance of going to Wembley
“We’d like to clear the next couple of rounds and then draw a Super League side in the Challenge Cup.
“We played three Super League sides in the pre-season friendlies but I don’t think we did ourselves justice in either.”