MYSTIFIED Knights boss Brett Davey has asked his players to explain their woeful display against Nottingham - and expects a very different performance at Esher today.
Doncaster’s disappointed director of rugby labelled last weekend’s 32-15 defeat to Nottingham - which ended the Knights’ five-game unbeaten run - as “too bad to be true”.
And the Welshman pulled no punches when he spoke to the Free Press earlier in the week.
Davey said: “I’ve watched the DVD of the game and our error count is just ridiculous. I’ve never seen anything quite like it before.
“The sad thing is I was half expecting it.
“We hadn’t trained well in the build-up to the game and we took that attitude into the game.
“The most surprising thing was that we managed to score first.
“I’ll get to the bottom of it this week,” he added.
“The annoying thing was that everyone was up for it a week earlier when the Sky Sports cameras were there.
“Then we come to what was a more important game, with it being at home, and we didn’t do anything.
“Whether it’s down to selection or mental attitude, I’ll get to the bottom of it.
“I don’t mind losing as long we work hard - but we didn’t do that.
“I’ve been proud of the players’ efforts up till Saturday and one performance does not make us a bad team.
“But now it’s about how we react to that defeat.
“It doesn’t matter who we come up against this weekend - it could be Esher or the New Zealand All Blacks - it’s all about how we react.
“We need to get some honesty back into our game.”
Davey made five changes from the side that drew 18-18 at Bedford Blues the previous weekend, handing starts to Mike Whitehead, Andy Brown, Jack Yeandle, Royce Burke-Flynn and Andy Boyde, freshening up the front row in the process.
But his side’s performance was unrecognisable from the battling display at Bedford as indiscipline and poor defending cost Doncaster dearly.
After a positive start, which saw Jack Farivarz driven over by the home pack on nine minutes, Knights spent the majority of the first half on the back foot and conceded a succession of penalties.
Kieran Hallett kicked four superb three-pointers, while Edward Mama scored an all-too-easy try shortly after Farivarz went over.
The visitors were in the boss seat and a disappointing half went from bad to worse when full back David McIlwaine gifted the ball to James Alridge ten yards out for Nottingham’s second try, which the reliable Hallett converted.
Second half tries from replacement Latu Makaafi (pictured touching down above) and in-form winger Michael Keating raised hopes of a comeback - or at least a bonus point - but Nottingham had the final say when Joe Duffey was driven over to complete an emphatic win for the visitors.
To compound Doncaster’s misery Whitehead suffered a broken hand during the defeat and will be out of action for a minimum of two months.