In Opposition - Doncaster RLFC - Super 8s

In Opposition - Doncaster RLFC - Super 8s

8th September 2017

Newcastle Thunder travel to face Doncaster RLFC this Sunday, where the result will likely play a huge role in determining which of the two sides seal the final playoff spot in Kingstone Press League .

Thunder played themselves back into contention with an impressive win at home against Keighley Cougars last weekend, but need to take the full two points from their trip to South Yorkshire if they are to remain in with a chance.

Doncaster currently occupy fifth in the table, three points ahead of Newcastle following a battling draw with York City Knights last weekend and with a trip to face the Toronto Wolfpack concluding their Super 8 season, will be keen to secure playoff qualification this week in their last home game.

It has been a competitive season for the Dons with some big wins, some nail biting encounters and two draws.

Their League 1 campaign got off to the best possible start with three wins on the bounce, starting with a 26-4 win at home to Coventry Bears and backed up with a big 8-44 triumph away to Crusaders, before a closer 29-24 win over Hunslet back at the Keepmoat Stadium.

Hosting the Wolfpack, Doncaster suffered a battering at the hands of the Canadian jugger-naught with a 6-82 loss, with the hangover lasting into the following game away to York where a disjointed performance saw a 16-8 win for the Knights.

The first of two draws so far this season came at home to London Skolars in round six with head coach Gary Thornton leaving the club by mutual consent two days later, with the club re-iterating their aims of reaching the play-offs.

With an interim coaching set up taking over the helm the Dons enjoyed the almost tradition bounce that comes from a refresh in the back room, with wins over Hemel, Keighley and Workington before playing out a 24 all draw against Barrow.

Appointing Hull FC reserves coach Richard Horne to the vacant head coach role in the middle of June, his first match in charge saw a five point loss to Whitehaven, as the West Cumbrian side maintained their impressive 2017 season, having lost only to the Toronto Wolfpack.

On their last visit to the Dons, a professional display from Thunder saw Jason Payne’s side seal a solid 10-20 win and will be hoping for a similar result, to set up a final day push at York next week.

Players to Watch

Kyle Kesik - Experienced hooker Kyle Kesik has captained the Dons for the past two years and is the clubs longest serving player, having joined in 2009.  He helped the club win a Kingstone Press League 1 Shield and Grand Final double back in 2012, before helping establish the club in the Championship, and finish in the play-offs for two consecutive seasons in 2013 and 2014. 

Jason Tali - Papua New Guinea international centre Jason Tali is well known to Thunder fans following his season with the club in 2015, where he proved himself to be as good as his reputation, with powerful runs, and scoring more than a try a game, with 14 tries in 13 outings.

He has been in good form for the Dons in 2017 and will be a key threat for them on Sunday.

Iafeta Paleaaesina – A vastly experienced prop, Paleaaesina joined Doncaster from Super League side Hull FC for 2017 having played on loan for the Dons the year before.

At 33, his glittering career has seen him make over 200 appearances in the top flight competition and has represented both New Zealand and his native Samoa in international competition.

In Opposition - Doncaster RLFC - Super 8s