Doncaster RLFC to face Newcastle Thunder in League One opener

Richard Horne. Photo: Rob Terrace
Richard Horne. Photo: Rob Terrace

Doncaster RLFC will start the 2019 Betfred League One season at Newcastle Thunder as part of an eye-catching double-header.

The Dons will face Thunder on Saturday February 16 (2.30pm) before Toronto Wolfpack clash with Widnes Vikings (5pm) in the Betfred Championship.

Dons chief executive Carl Hall said: "We are delighted to accept the offer to play in a season opening double-header where the Dons will go to battle with Newcastle Thunder, who have made some head turning signings.

“This is a challenge, which will hopefully be in front of a packed out Kingston Park, we accept and are looking forward to immensely. What a way to start the Championship and League One season.”

Thunder and Doncaster are both expected to be in contention for at least a spot in the play-offs.

The Toronto against Widnes match is one of three early season ‘home’ games that the Wolfpack will take on the road due to the wintry weather conditions in Canada. 

Both games will take place on Kingston Park’s artificial 3G pitch with supporters from all teams able to watch both games for just one ticket price.

Doncaster’s first home game, on Sunday February 24, is against Hunslet before round three sees Workington Town visit the Keepmoat Stadium in a repeat of last season’s play-off semi-final.

The final game of the regular season is the reverse fixture with Workington.

Meanwhile, the Dons’ squad returned to pre-season training last week.

Head coach Richard Horne said: “The first week is always about easing the boys back into the way we do things, and testing different aspects of their bodies.

“Given how we ended last season the boys were all keen to get back in, this time of year is where you can set the ground work in for the season ahead.

“We need the boys to work hard but we don’t want them breaking down before the start of the season, so it’s important that we manage them.”