DONS skipper Shaun Leaf played through the pain barrier to help the club get their Championship One campaign off to a winning start against South Wales Crusaders.
The 27 year-old centre, who returned to the Doncaster side after a fortnight on the sidelines with a bruised sternum (chest bone) admitted that he felt the injury in Sunday’s game at the Keepmoat Stadium.
“It still feels painful when I get a knock on it and you can’t really avoid doing that in a contact sport like rugby league,” he told The Star.
“Unfortunately it’s a part of the body which you can’t protect with padding so it’s just a case of playing through the pain until the bruising comes out. The best way to clear the injury up is to rest it, but I want to be out there playing.
“You know it is going to hurt when you take the ball in but you have to go in hard because you’ve more chance of picking up an injury if you don’t.”
Leaf partnered new dual-registration loan signing from Super League outfit Hull FC, Nev Morrison, for the first time in Sunday’s game and was pleased how it went.
“He’s a good lad and can cover both right and left side,” said Leaf. “He’s got some real power in his legs and he’s a good attacking player as well as being a good defender. He’s given us extra strength in depth at centre and when Chris Spurr comes back from his hamstring injury there is going to be good competition for places.
“If Chris had have been fit then I might have given this weekend’s game at London Skolars a miss, but I’ll be there because it is a tough place to go - the pitch is tight - and it’s important that we build on Sunday’s win.
“I thought that we played well against South Wales and having (stand-off) Craig Fawcett back gave us more organisation at half-back and took some of the pressure off scrum-half Scott Spaven, and he responded with two tries.
“I thought that we played some good rugby and things are starting to come together. But we can still get better and there’s a lot more to come.”