Preview: Halifax v Doncaster RLFC

Russ Spiers pictured in action against Featherstone Rovers.
Russ Spiers pictured in action against Featherstone Rovers.

Can we just end the season right now?

Paul Cooke was in a jovial mood after seeing his side beat Featherstone to go second in the embryonic Championship table.

But the serious undertone from Dons’ new player coach, following a hard fought and not altogether straightforward win over Rovers, was that there is still a lot more to come from his team.

Cooke could not give two hoots about the league table.

The former Super League star is far too busy demanding impeccable standards at Doncaster. His attention had already turned to the trip to Halifax.

Cooke said in his post-match interview: “Can we finish the season now?

“Listen, it’s round five. There’s a lot more rugby to be played.

“My boys will be told again this week what areas they need to improve in.

“We’ll work hard again on Thursday night and Saturday morning for a really tough game at Halifax.

“Karl Harrison’s team are well coached and they’ll fancy their chances at home. But we fancy ours too.

“We’re a tough old team to beat at times,” he added.

“I’m not bothered in the slightest what Dewsbury or Featherstone or anyone else is doing. The only team I’m bothered about is Doncaster.”

Dons impressed as they took a 12-6 half time lead into the break against Rovers, but made hard work of securing a 20-16 victory.

“On balance I’m not really sure we deserved it,” said Cooke.

“We spent quite a bit of time defending in the first half and then we got back into the game and showed we could attack.

“In the second half we tried to give it away and found ourselves behind.

“We didn’t get out of our own end enough and we gave away some cheap stuff.

“Featherstone were good value for their lead but we knew if we got a chance we could post some points.

“We’re a tough side to beat once we get to 20 points,” he added.

“If we can keep teams to 16, 14, 12 points then we’ve got every chance of winning games.

“The boys were first class defensively. To give away as much ball as we did and then defend those plays was fantastic.”

Dons are likely to be without injured prop Mark Castle again today. Liam Cunningham is also sidelined.

“We’re doing it tough at the moment, with all the injuries we have,” said Cooke.