Doncaster RLFC: No complaints from Cooke after derby defeat

Doncaster's Mike Emmett and Sheffield's Michael Knowles. Picture: Marie Caley

Doncaster's Mike Emmett and Sheffield's Michael Knowles. Picture: Marie Caley

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Dons’ player-coach Paul Cooke had no arguments with Wednesday night’s 26-4 Championship defeat against Sheffield Eagles at the Keepmoat Stadium.

“Full credit to them, they were full value for their win,” said Cooke, who left himself out of the team.

“But with a bit more quality in certain areas we’d have been a bit closer.

“I think they’ll know they’ve been in a bit of a game, which is pleasing for me.”

Praising the team’s performance and commitment, Cooke said: “Having lost our hooker after 25 minutes, our scrum-half on 52 minutes, and then our other half-back for ten minutes, we were up against it.

“But (overall) I thought the players were magnificent.

“The forwards in particular such as Steve Snitch and Bobby Tyson-Wilson, who again put in a massive stint in, Brett Waller, Mitch Clark and Matt Carbutt.

“We’ve now got to match it at Whitehaven on Easter Monday and if we do so then we’ll certainly be there or thereabouts.”

The Dons are likely to be without exciting young scrum-half Richard Wilkinson, who could face a second cartilage operation (not on the same knee) this year after he limped off early in the second half with the home side having closed the gap to 16-4 and being well on top.

There was better news for Cooke with half-back Danny Nicklas coming through his first game since last March.

“It was possibly a bit unexpected by a lot of people (to see him playing),” said Cooke.

“But he’s worked hard after his knee reconstruction and he’s got 70 minutes under his belt - though I’ll certainly be having word with him about the ten minutes he missed (in the sin bin).

“He’s still rusty but he did some good things and some not so good things, but he certainly showed that he is capable at this level and with a few more games under his belt he’s going to be a handful for teams.”

Last season’s player–of-the-year Craig Robinson could miss the rest of the season if a scan confirms fears about the shoulder injury sustained on Sunday.