Doncaster RLFC v Featherstone Rovers: Tough home opener for Dons

Dons player coach Paul Cooke
Dons player coach Paul Cooke

Doncaster could hardly have had tougher opposition in their first home game of the 2015 Championship campaign than Featherstone Rovers.

Rovers, who check in at the Keepmoat Stadium tomorrow at 2pm, finished runners-up to Leigh last season and looked to have recruited well with several former Super League forwards having joined them.

With the pitch at their Post Office Road ground not quite ready following a redevelopment programme, Rovers had to play their opening home game against promoted Hunslet Hawks at nearby Wakefield on Monday night.

Dons’ player-coach Paul Cooke took in the game, the result of which was in the balance until Rovers scored two late tries to claim a flattering 28-14 win.

The game also served to give Cooke the chance to run the rule over Hawks, who the Dons visit early next month.

Rovers’ coach Andy Hay, who enjoyed a spell at Doncaster in the latter stages of his playing career, still has to convince some Featherstone supporters that he is the right man to take them back to the top flight after taking over last season but he has the respect of Cooke.

“I like Andy and I like the way he coaches and the players he has brought in,” said Cooke.

Although Rovers are not as big a club within the game today as they were in the 70s and 80s, during which time they won the Challenge Cup twice as well as the league title, they still command a lot of rrespect.

“I certainly think that they are a club we aspire to be like,” said Cooke.

Club officials will be keeping an anxious eye on the size of the crowd following their switch to an earlier kick-off this season to accommodate double-headers with Sheffield Eagles.

Eagles kick-off against London Broncos at 4.15pm.