Doncaster RLFC: Wounded Lions have potential to hurt us, warns Paul Cooke

Lee Waterman in action against Leigh.
Lee Waterman in action against Leigh.

Doncaster boss Paul Cooke will warn of the dangers of complacency ahead of Sunday’s home clash with lowly Swinton Lions.

Cooke has worked hard in training this week to keep the players grounded after they hit the heights against previously unbeaten Leigh last weekend.

“It was a great result against Leigh but it will count for nothing if we don’t beat Swinton,” warned Cooke.

Although it is still mathematically possible for the Lions to cling on to their Championship status if they win their remaining seven games and other results go for them, Cooke argues their fate is already sealed.

“Notwithstanding what the other clubs do, a side which has only won five games all season are not going to win seven in a row,” he said.

“They are certain to be one of the five teams being relegated this season and that is what could make them dangerous.

“The pressure is off them and they can come here on Sunday and relax and throw the ball about.”

The Lions threatened an upset for an hour when the two teams met at the Leigh Sports Village at the start of last month before the Dons ran away with the game in the last quarter.

Since that game, influential player-coach Ian Watson has moved on to Salford and John Duffy has taken charge.

Although Cooke is playing his cards close to his chest, he is unlikely to want to make many changes to the side which became the first Championship team to beat Leigh.

Much will depend on who Hull FC make available this week as part of the dual-registration agreement between the two clubs.

“Every week they offer up to four players or so and we choose who we want,” explained Cooke.

“It all depends on which positions we are light in, or if we feel someone needs a break.

“With Hull coach Lee Radford and me being friends it’s worked well.

“I think the success of the dual-registration system is all about communicating and being understanding of each other’s position.

“One really big plus for us was changing our tactics and having the same calls as Hull so that when their players come here they understand our structure and calls.

“That obviously helps when players come here low on confidence, particularly those who have not been playing.”