Doncaster boosted their League One play-off hopes when winging their way to a Super 8s win over Hunslet Hawks at the South Leeds Stadium last night.
The result at the South Leeds Stadium was just what the doctor ordered as far as Dons boss Gary Thornton was concerned.
Thornton came under fire from a section of the Doncaster supporters following the big defeat against Barrow last time out and could have expected more on social media had things not gone the club’s way on Friday night in the League One Super 8s four-pointer.
With Hunslet, who made a dreadful start to the season after being relegated from the Championship with the Dons last September, having won seven of their previous eight games they looked to be favourites.
But despite a 23-8 penalty count against them, the Dons were never behind and played some entertaining rugby at times in addition to defending well.
Stand-off Jordan Howden hadn’t played for a month following the recurrence of a hip injury, but gave the side the attacking organisation and structure sadly lacking against the Cumbrians on his return.
Although not 100 per cent fit, Howden had a hand in a couple of the Doncaster tries and his tactical kicking also posed problems for the home side, who came more into the game in the second half after trailing 24-6 at the break.
Third-choice hooker Kieran Cross was drafted in at scrum-half in the continued absence of the suspended Jordie Hedges, and the former Toll Bar amateur teamed up well with Howden and was unlucky not to score in the second half.
Second-rower Mason Tonks played his first game since breaking a leg earlier in the season and showed up well before having to go off with concussion late in the first half.
Teenage winger David Foggin-Johnson scored twice and is hitting top form at the right time.
Fellow winger Louis Sheriff also got in on the act and came very close to a second from a neat kick by Howden.
Tom Carr looked happier back in his normal role of full-back after filling in for Howden at half-back and capped another sound game by kicking six conversions out of six in the 36-24 win.
The Dons, who had an earlier try disallowed, opened the scoring on six minutes when Sheriff touched down near enough for Tom Carr to convert after backing up a superb break by skipper Kyle Kesik.
Hawks drew level on ten minutes with a converted try by Danny Ansell.
Full-back Carr reached out of the tackle to score a 14th minute try he again converted.
Howden put Foggin-Johnson in for his second try, again converted by Carr,on 20 minutes with a long pass.
Prop Makali Aizue powered his way over from close range for a fourth converted try. Carr again added the extras.
Both sides had a man sin-binned in the last minute of the half.
Hawks cut the deficit to 12 points with a second converted try within a minute of the restart.
The Dons restored their 18-point advantage when winger Louis Sheriff forced his way over in the corner from acting half-back on 52 minutes and Carr added the extras.
The Dons twice went close before Hawks struck again on 63 minutes.
Jack Walton was sin-binned on 69 minutes but Doncaster went close through Kesik before Foggin-Johnson scored in the corner six minutes later from Howden’s kick. Carr again added the extras.
Hunslet Hawks: Watson, Sanderson, Johnson, Mvududu, Barnett, Thomas, Ansell, Coventry, Lee, Reed, Williams, Normington, Milburn. Subs: Flanagan, Carbutt, Casey, Haley.
Doncaster: Carr, Foggin-Johnston, Welham, Doherty, Sheriff, Howden, Cross, Scott, Kesik, Castle, Tonks, Walton, Milton. Subs: Wright, Nicholson, Aizue, Donnel.
Referee: J Roberts