Doncaster RLFC: Thornton planning ahead for 2017

Gary Thornton
Gary Thornton

Doncaster RLFC will waste no time in planning for the 2017 League One campaign following their defeat in Sunday’s play-off semi-final at Barrow.

The 2016 campaign proved to be tougher than many people connected with the club expected - though not head coach Gary Thornton - and next season looks to be even tougher with the new full-time Toronto club joining the league.

Despite his disappointment with how his side fell away in the second half of Sunday’s game at Craven Park, Thornton still believes he has the basis of a squad to mount another promotion challenge next season.

“We brought a lot of new players in following relegation and we’d like to keep the majority of them - especially the key players,” he said.

“I think we’ve got the basis of a very good side (at this level) and I don’t think that we are far away.

“I certainly feel we could have finished higher than fourth and could have had a home tie in the play-offs had we not suffered the injuries we did.

“We’ve got a lot of young players in the squad who will only get better with more experience but we need to strengthen in several key areas.

“Depending on the situation with Makali Aizue, I’ll probably be looking to bring in a couple of props and also strengthen the back-row. I’d also like to bring in an outside back and someone to put pressure on the half-backs.”

Full back Tom Carr has signed a new two-year deal.

Carr won the Supporters’ Player of the Year, Players’ Player of the Year and Player of the Year at the Dons’ End of Season Awards.

“Unfortunately this year wasn’t our year, we all want to bounce back now and hopefully we can go and win promotion in 2017,” said Carr.