Rugby League: Dons bid for title boost

Unbeaten target: Long-serving winger Dean Colton will pose threat for Gateshead at the Keepmoat.
Unbeaten target: Long-serving winger Dean Colton will pose threat for Gateshead at the Keepmoat.
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HAVING got his richly-deserved three-month testimonial out of the way, Dons’ winger Dean Colton is now able to give the club’s Championship One title bid his full attention.

The former Scottish World Cup star, who has been in fine form this season, is hoping to help the third-placed Dons wing their way to victory over lowly Gateshead Thunder at the Keepmoat Stadium tomorrow (3pm) in their first game for a month.

“I think the break came at a good time and has given people the chance to get over their little niggles and re-charge their batteries,” the 29 year-old told The Star.

“Having beaten Gateshead twice away this season it is a game that we are expected to win. But they are an improved side since we last played them and they’ve pushed a few teams close this season so we can’t afford to under-estimate them.

“But we’ll be confident because we are at home and we are unbeaten at the Keepmoat all season.

“One of the targets we set ourselves at the start of the year was to go through the season unbeaten at home and we are on course to do that - though we’ve got the top two sides, Barrow and Workington, to play next month.

“Both those games are going to be massive and the results will go a long way towards deciding the title, which I think is between the three of us and Whitehaven.

“It could go down to the wire - even come down to points difference - so we’ve got to be looking to try and boost ours whenever possible.

“I know we’ve been scoring a lot of points but we’ve also conceded a few in recent games, so we probably need to tighten up a bit on our defence.

“Hopefully we can run in a few tries tomorrow and just restrict them to a few points.”

Gateshead boss Kevin Neighbour said: “The lads enjoy playing at the Keepmoat; It’s a good stadium. Doncaster are a tough side. We’ve played them twice this year, and we got quite close to them in the second game. Hopefully this week will be third time lucky in terms of trying to get as much out of the game as we possibly can.”

Irrespective of whether the club win the title, with four sides being promoted as a one-off this season, Colton is confident the Dons will be back playing in the Championship next season.

“It would obviously be a step-up in class but were we able to hang on to the majority of the squad and add one or two players, I think we’d hold our own,” he said.