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Newcastle Thunder v Doncaster RLFC: Owen, Howden and Cross missing for Dons but Miloudi set to feature

Hakim Miloudi. Photo: Rob Terrace
Hakim Miloudi. Photo: Rob Terrace
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Doncaster RLFC will lack suspended full-back Richard Owen in tomorrow’s League One clash against Newcastle Thunder at Kingston Park (2pm).

The former Super League star picked up a one-match ban for tripping in midweek.

“It will be a big loss for us because Richard has been a great leader for us and has been absolutely outstanding,” said Dons No 2 Pete Green.

Dual-registered Hull FC French international Hakim Miloudi, who cut his teeth in British rugby league with the Dons last season, will take over.

“Hakim’s not a bad replacement, is he?” said Green. “He’s got the X-factor in attack and he’ll will bring different qualities to the side.”

The unbeaten Dons will also lack both hooker Kieran Cross and stand-off Jordan Howden.

Cross picked up a calf strain in the 34-0 Challenge Cup win over Thunder at the Keepmoat Stadium last Friday.

Howden was substituted late in the first half with a recurrence of the hip problem on which he had career-saving surgery last year.

“Jordan has seen the club doctor and is booked in for a scan next Wednesday and fingers crossed it’s not as bad as we are fearing,” said Green.

Strong-running centre Jason Tali (back) will again be missing but, like Cross, could be back in contention for the Good Friday home game against York.

“Liam Welham did well so we’ve no need to rush players back from injury,” said Green.

“Training has gone well this week and the lads are confident as you would expect from a side with four big wins in as many games.

“But we are not getting carried away by last weekend’s result because it will be a completely different game.”

He added: “It is Newcastle’s first home game of the season and they are more used to playing on a 4G pitch than our players so that has got to be to their advantage.

“Apart from everything else the ball bounces differently on an artificial pitch and our back-three are likely to be tested.

“They probably had one eye on this game last week, as we did, and they are boosted by the return of several key players so we are expecting a tough game.

“Even though we beat them easily in the end they played very well while they were in the game and we had to defend well and that will be the case again tomorrow.”