Pete Green claims Doncaster RLFC supporters can enjoy their Christmas festivities secure in the knowledge that the club have everything in place for another Betfred League One promotion bid next year – including a new philosophy.
“Head coach Richard Horne and myself have had a discussion on the subject and we’ve decided to field the strongest team we can in every game next season,” said assistant boss Green.
“Rich was keen to rotate the side and chop and change a bit in the first half of last season (in order to have everyone fresh for the business end of the season) but that won’t happen next year.
“If players are fit and in form they’ll stay in the side.
“Obviously most players aren’t going to play in every game and we’ll take the opportunity to rest them when we feel we need to do so.
“If they are struggling with an injury, or their form has taken a bit of a dip, then we’ll also leave them out.”
The rotation policy didn’t go down well with a number of supporters last season particularly when the team failed to build on a promising start and were off the pace at the midway stage of the league campaign.
But the Dons came into their own in the second half of the campaign and looked much fresher than many of their rivals when going on to claim third spot and a home tie in the play-offs – the pre-season target if they failed to secure top spot in what proved a very competitive league.
“I know that some people have been panicking a little bit seeing the signings that the likes of Newcastle and Hunslet have made,” said Green.
“Some supporters I have spoken to have been worried because we’ve not signed any big names.
“But we are confident with the players we’ve got having retained the bulk of the side which set a new club-record of ten successive league and cup wins last season.
“There was a great team spirit among the players last season and that undoubtedly helped. It’s not something which happens overnight and it’s something as a club we’ve developed over the last three or four seasons.
“Carl Hall has made sure that the players we’ve signed, in addition to being good players on the pitch, are also good people off it and with the record he’s got discipline-wise, there are not many people in the game better suited to doing that.
“It only takes a couple of players with different attitudes to disrupt things but I’ve got confidence in the players we’ve currently got at the club and you can see that by their attitude in training.
“It’s gone up another level this year and they are really buying into what new strength and conditioning coach Calum Christopherson has brought to the table.
“His knowledge is absolutely phenomenal and he’s massively impressed everyone not only in terms of training – where he knows when to push the lads and when to back off – but with his advice on such things as nutrition.
“He works as assistant at (Super League) Castleford Tigers during the day and he’s bringing ideas he’s picked up over there to the club which is great for the lads.”
He added: “As well as the players already on the books we’ll be strengthened by the various players we’ll get from Hull FC – who have signed a lot of good players who probably aren’t quite ready to play Super League at this moment in time - during the course of the season as part of our ongoing dual-registration arrangement.
“And, as was the case last season, two Hull FC players will be joining us on a season-long loan which is obviously great news for us.”
Green says as well as looking ahead to next season the club are also looking beyond that.
“If we get promoted next season, which is the aim, we know the Championship is a very professional division and all the top sides have players who are good enough to play Super League,” he said.
“So as well as trying to go up we’ve also got an eye on the squad for the next three or four years.”