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DONS: Championship challenge

GOULD' STAR: Bobbie Goulding Jnr impressed on his Dons debut against Keighley and could be back in the blue and gold this weekend. Picture: Rob Terrace

GOULD' STAR: Bobbie Goulding Jnr impressed on his Dons debut against Keighley and could be back in the blue and gold this weekend. Picture: Rob Terrace

HOW do you follow that?

That is the question the Dons face as the make the step up to the Co-operative Championship following the most decorated season in the club’s storied history.

Head coach Tony Miller is clear on what he wants from the campaign ahead, which kicks off against Dewsbury Rams at the Keepmoat on Sunday (3pm).

“Consolidation,” was his quick-fire answer to the question.

“If we can finish in mid-table in the Championship that will equal everything we achieved last season.

“There’s a real opportunity for us to do that but it’s going to be a tough year.

“We’ve set the target for a mid-table finish.

“Clubs like Featherstone, Halifax, Sheffield and Batley are probably a bit ahead of everybody else.

“Below that it’s an open playing field.

“If you get it right on the day you have a realistic chance of beating the other teams at home.

“Like we did last season, we’ll target out home games and try and pick up as many wins and bonus points away from home as possible.

“We know it’s going to be tough but I think we’ll be okay.”

The Dons are looking to build on a brilliant 2012 which saw them win their first ever league line and the play off Grand Final, making their return to the second tier for the first time since 2009.

Miller (pictured) will be hoping to guide his side to a longer stay than four years ago when they last just one season in the Championship.

He is keen to work on his side’s defence following the 44-4 defeat to Wakefield Wildcats at the Keepmoat on Sunday.

“We defended really well towards the back end of last season and we’ll need to do that again,” Miller said.

“We’ve got a few new lads in so there’s work to be done.

“I was a bit disappointed with the defending against Wakefield, not one on ones but just our structure.

“To be fair to the lads, with the weather we’ve not had a lot of time to work on things recently.

“But we will get better.”

Winger Stewart Sanderson scored a consolation try for the Dons against Wakefield.

“In the first half we didn’t do ourselves justice,” said Miller. “They were just too strong for us.

“The second half was a lot better. I thought we matched them for long periods.

“There are a few areas we need to fix up this week in time for Sunday but we did a lot of good stuff too.

“I thought we’d struggle around the ruck area but we did well in there. I thought there were more positives than negatives.”

Craig Robinson (calf) and Grant Edwards (concussion) are doubts for this weekend.

Miller hopes to be able to call upon dual-registration trio Bobbie Goulding, Danny Cowling and Lucas Walshaw from parent club Wakefield.

Goudling and Cowling both played for the Wildcats against the Dons on Sunday with Cowling scoring a try.

 

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