Brett Davey has lifted the lid on a dressing room divide he says cost the club a potentially lucrative place in last season’s Championship play-off final.
Davey, speaking exclusively to the Free Press, says he was glad to see the back of certain players over the summer who created unwanted “cliques” at Castle Park.
But the Welshman, who took over as director of rugby from Lynn Howells in May, insists problems with team spirit are now a thing of the past - and says his new breed of Knights can be proud of the way they have started the 2011/12 campaign.
Doncaster go in search of a fifth successive Championship win in front of the Sky Sports cameras at Bedford Blues on Saturday.
Davey said: “There were a few things that happened last year that really upset me.
“Team spirit was something we had to work on over the summer and a few things we did as a group have galvanised the squad and brought them closer together.
“We had problems with the team spirit last year - particularly towards the end of the season.
“We could’ve reached a final last year and those problems didn’t help us.
“One or two cliques were starting to develop in the changing room and it was rubbing the local boys up the wrong way.
“A couple of players really let the club down but they’re no longer here – and I’m very pleased about that.
“We’ve brought in lads like Chris Planchant, Tom Davies and Adam Kettle over the summer – lads that have been at the club before and they know what’s it’s all about,” he added.
“We’ve got some good senior professionals here too like Steve Boden and Glen Kenworthy who help to knit everything together.
“The new lads that have come in seem to have settled very quickly.
“We knew a lot about the new lads and we knew what type of personalities we were bringing in.
“It’s pleasing how quickly they’ve all bonded but I think a lot of that is testament to the likes of Steve and Kendo.
“Those two demand a lot out of the squad and keep everyone on their toes.
“All the lads can be proud of their efforts on and off the pitch so far this season – they’re a credit to this club.”
Knights came within a whisker of reaching the Championship play-off semi-finals last season.
Tristan Roberts, Matt Williams, Nathan Jones, Ed Jackson and Steve Lawrie were among the players to leave the club over the summer.
l Knights’ trip to Bedford Blues will be screened live on Sky Sports 3 from 3.30pm on Saturday.