Doncaster RLFC: Thornton counts cost of Dons’ 20th loss

Gary Thornton
Gary Thornton

Doncaster’s slide towards League One continues to gather pace after they slumped to their 20th successive Championship defeat away to fellow strugglers Batley Bulldogs.

Yesterday’s encounter was the second of three successive games coach Gary Thornton had targeted as ‘must win’ games in the club’s battle against relegation.

But as was the case in the defeat to Whitehaven a week prior, the result was a foregone conclusion by half-time.

Whilst Thornton is still not ready to concede defeat, he admitted: “It gets harder every game we lose.

“We were playing downhill in the first half and I told the players before they went out to try and put some points on the board to give us something to defend, but it didn’t happen and we came in 24-0 down.

“We contributed to our own downfall but we couldn’t match the physicality of their forwards and we’ve certainly missed Matt Groat for the last three games in terms of what he brings to the pack.

“Their back three were very good in the first half, but we knew that before the game.

“We had to play a winger at stand-off and it is never an ideal situation playing people out of their comfort zone especially in such a pivotal role.”

As was the case last week, the Dons performed better in the second half.

“I think it was 10-6 to them in the second half but we shouldn’t have to wait until the game is lost before we start to play,” said Thornton, who made it clear he is not happy with the fitness levels he inherited.