‘I’m up for the fight,’ vows new Doncaster RLFC coach Gary Thornton

l-r Dons' new-look coaching team: Andy Vincent, Gary Thornton, Pete Bell, Peter Green, Will Thompson.
l-r Dons' new-look coaching team: Andy Vincent, Gary Thornton, Pete Bell, Peter Green, Will Thompson.

New Doncaster RLFC head coach Gary Thornton is up for the fight in the battle against relegation from the Championship.

Former Batley Bulldogs and York City Knights boss Thornton was appointed as Paul Cooke’s successor this week.

Gary Thornton

Gary Thornton

“It isn’t a lost cause because there are 15 games left and there are a lot of winnable games and we’ll be targeting those,” he said.

“It’s difficult and I’m not going to say that we are going to win this game or win that game.

“We’ve got to go into every game as best prepared as we can be and go in it to win it.

“I don’t go into any game thinking that I’m going to lose and I don’t expect my players to do that either.

“The problem is that we are in a position where we are dependent on what other clubs do because we are six points behind (second-bottom) Whitehaven and eight behind Workington and Batley.”

Joining Thornton as part of the new-look coaching team is former Dons and Sheffield Eagles favourite Peter Green.

The former Dons captain will act as joint-assistant coach with Andy Vincent, while conditioner Pete Bell remains involved.

“To come back to my hometown club and be involved in the coaching is a privilege and I’m looking forward to it, especially working alongside Gary,” said Green.

“He is respected in this league and the players (he’s worked with) speak very highly of him.

“To get the chance to work under him and learn from him is a big opportunity for me.

“I think we are all aware of the challenge ahead. It’s going to be tough but we’ve just got to keep working hard and remain positive.”

Thornton added: “Pete was a tough uncompromising player when he played and he is certainly going to bring those qualities to the coaching staff and we are going to have a similar mind-set.

“Obviously we’ve got our own ideas on how we want to play the game and we’ll build on that but we aren’t going to throw away everything that has happened in the last 15 games because there has been some very good stuff done.

“Paul Cooke is a fantastic coach and he’ll have put some good structures in place.

“Pete and I will be talking to the other coaches and work out which worked well and which didn’t.”

Both Thornton and Green are only under contract until the end of the season – something agreed by all parties in the negotiations.

“We’ll sit down at the end of the season and review the situation but we are confident we’ve got the right man in Gary,” said chief executive Carl Hall.