Comment: Top eight finish is realistic target for Dons

Paul Cooke
Paul Cooke

The last couple of seasons have been among the most successful in Doncaster Rugby League Club’s history, writes Steve Hossack.

The 2012 campaign saw them finish top of Division One and claim the championship title in the play-off final at Warrington.

Tony Miller’s men built on that success on their return to the Championship and surprised everyone by finishing sixth.

Given the fact that Miller had decided to step down and had been replaced by Paul Cooke, who had played a starring role on the field the previous two years but was was untried as a coach, a similar campaign would more than have fitted the bill.

But under Cooke’s inspired leadership, both on and off the field, the club finished fourth and could have finished even higher.

They did so playing the same eye-catching style of rugby as they had done under Miller but having taken it to another level.

This season’s side certainly has a tough act to follow in what will be the most competitive Championship ever.

Were the Dons to equal last season’s achievements, let alone top them, it would represent in my opinion their most successful campaign in the five decades that I have reported on them.

Without wishing to appear negative, I don’t see the Dons contesting a place in the end-of-season Super League promotion play-offs.

Indeed, given the quality of opposition, a top eight finish would be regarded as a successful campaign and a building block for future assaults on the top flight.

If the club can come through a testing start to the season relatively intact, that could be a distinct possibility.