THE Dons conceded three late converted tries to miss out on the chance of beating derby rivals Sheffield Eagles in yesterday’s pre-season game at the Keepmoat Stadium and becoming the first winners of the Autism Plus South Yorkshire Cup.
The result was still in the balance midway through the last quarter with the sides locked on 22-22, before Eagles took advantage of the tiring Dons to claim a 40-22 victory.
“We only had 17 players and Grant Edwards pulled his quad in the warm-up and then Andy Townend broke his hand after about 15 minutes so the majority of the game we only had a 15-man squad and in the end that possibly told,” said Dons boss Tony Miller.
“I couldn’t fault the effort that the players put in and I don’t think the score reflected the game, but sometimes rugby is like that.
“After 70 minutes that we had a chance of winning the game but they scored an interception try as we had done in the first half
“They had a bit more urgency at the end but that was probably because they were a bit fresher than us with having a bigger squad.
“But there were a lot more pleasing aspects than things I was disappointed by.
“If we play like we played today, and against Hunslet last week, then we are not going to be far off in our division.
“We’ve got some big game players to come in as well, who have also got experience which we probably lacked at crucial periods. But overall I’m happy with the effort we put in.”
Eagles boss Mark Aston, who was impressed by centre Nev Morrison, who spent most of last season on loan from Hull at Doncaster, praised the Dons’ efforts in what was a keenly contested and entertaining contest.
“I rated them very highly and I think they’ll have a good season,” he said.
n Match report: p29