Doncaster RLFC v Keighley Cougars: Matty Beharrell back for final regular home game
Doncaster RLFC welcome back play-maker Matty Beharrell in Sunday’s final Betfred League One home game of the season against Keighley Cougars (3pm).
The half-back, who joined the club from Keighley last season, missed the heavy defeat at Oldham a fortnight ago.
“We knew that we’d miss him but we probably didn’t realise just how much,” said assistant coach Pete Green.
More good news for the fifth-placed Dons is that former England half-back Rangi Chace is fit.
“Rangi picked up a dead leg early in the first half and was limping badly,” said Green, “But having lost Jordie Hedges we kept him on in the hope he would be able to play on but in the end we had to bring him off.”
There is also a return to the squad for the first time since the Challenge Cup defeat at Catlans in May for young loose-forward Brandan Wilkinson.
The former Bradford forward, who has only played three games in over 14 months due to two knee injuries, has proved his fitness after being put through several testing training sessions over the last couple of weeks.
Brandon Douglas also returns to the squad.
“We didn’t want to play him against Oldham in what would have been only his second game back following a knee operation because of their 4G pitch,” said Green.
“He’s worked hard in training in the last two weeks and will be fitter than he was against London.”
But Hedges, who suffered a deep facial wound at Oldham, will sit the game out.
“He’s fine and the wound has healed well but we don’t want to risk it opening up again so we’ve decided to give him another week,” said Green.
The game will mark the return to the Keepmoat Stadium of former scrum-half Jack Miller, who moved to Cougar Park early last season.
“We could guarantee him a regular place at the time that he felt he needed to find his best form because we were rotating the squad,” said Green. “Jack’s a great kid as well as being a good player and he left on good terms and there wasn’t any hard feelings.
“He’s had a good season and like anyone playing against one of his former clubs he’ll be looking for a big game.”
The West Yorkshire club will travel over to the Keepmoat with hopes of completing a league double.
“They surprised some teams, including ourselves, and picked up some wins that they probably hadn’t been expected to do so given their off-field problems at the start of the season,” said Green.
“Having said that it was a much below-par performance by us and I think we are in a better place now though we are still a bit up and down.
“We know that Keighley are a much better team than their league position would suggest and but for their 12-point deduction they would have been challenging for a play-off spot.
“Even though they have nothing to play for they’ll come here full of enthusiasm and run hard and we’ve got to match them in those areas.
“We’ve worked on defending the ruck area in training because Oldham broke us down far too easily on the day.”