TONY Miller has urged the Dons to show they will compete physically this season when they host Super League side Wakefield on Sunday, writes Liam Hoden.
The Dons’ head coach knows this campaign will be more physically demanding for his squad following their promotion to the Co-operative Championship.
And Miller sees the visit of the Wildcats in the final pre-season friendly as the perfect test of his side’s strength.
“We’ve got to make sure we stay strong in the middle of the park, on Sunday and all season,” he told the Free Press.
“When you move up the levels the sides just get bigger and stronger and you’ve got to be ready to deal with that.
“If you let the opposition steamroller you in the middle then you’re going to get beat, no matter how good you are.
“It’s a massive test for us on Sunday but it’ll give us an idea of where we are and what we need to do.”
The Wildcats are likely to bring a stronger than expected squad to the Keepmoat due to disruption caused by the recent freezing conditions.
Miller said: “I was talking to Kieran Agard (Wakefield coach) this week and he says he’s got to bring the majority of the first team because they need game time.
“It’s going to be a really tough game but I know the lads will be keen to show what they’re capable of against top opposition.
“Wakefield are full time whereas we train three times a week but the lads work their socks off and will be desperate to make it count.”
One player likely to be lining up for Wakefield is Bobbie Goulding Jnr who was man of the match for the Dons in their 34-16 win over Keighley Cougars last weekend.
The 19-year-old – son of former Great Britain great Bobbie Goulding – is on dual registration terms with the Dons and Wildcats but his parent club have held onto him for Sunday.
Miller said: “Bobbie’s performance was brilliant on Sunday to say it was his debut and he’s such a young kid.
“His kicking game was excellent and his goal kicking was outstanding.
“He’s going to be a big player for us this season but unfortunately it’s likely he’ll be up against us this weekend.”
Goulding had a 100 per cent conversion rate in the win over Keighley, adding the extras to tries from Chris Spurr, Lee Waterman, Grant Edwards, Dennis Tuffour, Brett Waller and Stewart Sanderson.
Paul Cooke could be set to make his return to action in the Wakefield friendly following his kneecap break in last season’s play off campaign.
The Dons’ Championship season kicks off next weekend when they welcome Dewsbury Rams to the Keepmoat.