Doncaster RLFC: Cooke and Griffiths leave banter aside for crunch tie

Paul Cooke will lead his Dons side out against fellow coach Clive Griffiths' North Wales Crusaders.  Picture: Malcolm Billingham
Paul Cooke will lead his Dons side out against fellow coach Clive Griffiths' North Wales Crusaders. Picture: Malcolm Billingham
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The banter between Doncaster Knights staff Paul Cooke and Clive Griffiths might have to take a backseat this weekend as the pair prepare for a clash between their respective rugby league sides.

Cooke will be leading out his Dons outfit on Sunday as they welcome Griffiths’ North Wales Crusaders to the Keepmoat Stadium.

Despite both enjoying banter in the run-up to the mouth-watering Kingstone Press Championship clash, neither will be letting their long-running friendship get in the way of the crucial encounter.

The pair experienced mixed fortunes in last weekend’s Challenge Cup with Cooke’s men cruising past lower league opposition Hemel Stags, 68-18, as Griffiths’ Welsh contingent suffered a 66-0 Featherstone thumping.

“We are both friends and professionals, there will be no rivalry or hatred involved and once the game is over, our friendship and working relationship will continue as normal,” admitted Griffiths.

“We’ve been sharing a lot of banter in the build-up to the game, we have both been trying to hack into each other’s computers to try and get match notes.

“It means a lot to both teams. In an ideal world it would be a draw so we can both come away with points.”

He went on: “We know all about Paul [Cooke] and what he brings to Doncaster, he is a massive talisman.

“If we can keep him quiet, which is not going to be easy, it will stand us in good stead.”

Doncaster will be without Matt Carbutt and Scott Spaven for the clash, however, loan arrival Matty Wildie is back in contention after being ineligible in the Challenge Cup.

n Dons v North Wales Crusaders, Sunday, Keepmoat Stadium, 3pm.