DONCASTER have moved quickly to cover the loss of skipper Shaun Leaf, who has been suspended by the Rugby Football League pending an investigation over a betting scandal.
Dons boss Tony Miller, who had been looking forward to the centre returning to the side after a month or so on the sidelines with a dislocated thumb in Sunday’s home Championship One against second-placed Keighley, has swooped to sign Sedgley Park RFC centre-winger Richard Tafa for the rest of the season.
“Richard was here a couple of years ago,” said Miller. “He looked really good but he picked up a shoulder injury and didn’t play many games. He’s strong and he runs the ball in well.”
With Leaf, who is likely to be sacked by the club if the betting allegations are proven, out, and dual-registered Hull FC centre Nev Morrison being required by the Super League club this weekend, along with second-rower Chris Green, Tafa is expected to start.
Especially as centre Chris Spurr is also struggling to make the game after suffering a groin strain in last weekend’s battling show against Super League outfit Wakefield Trinity Wildcats in their Carnegie Challenge Cup tie.
Miller could again be forced to turn to second-rower Craig Lawton to fill in - if he is fit.
Lawton, who has only recently returned to the professional ranks, suffered a neck injury in the Wakefield game and was kept out of any contact work in Wednesday’s training session.
“Hopefully Craig will be fit for Sunday but I’ll have a better idea after tonight’s session,” said Miller.
Stand-off Aaron Dobek is hoping the Dons can take heart from the Cup defeat.
“It was a good performance and we’ve got to build on that,” he said.
“Keighley have made a good start to the season but if we play like we did against Wakefield we should be a match for anyone in this division.
“It’s a game we can’t afford to lose if we want to stay in touch with the top four.”