Doncaster will again be a force in the Championship this season on the evidence of yesterday’s warm-up against Castleford at the Keepmoat Stadium.
There were certainly more positives than negatives, despite the 32-12 defeat against a Tigers side which reached the Challenge Cup final and finished fourth in the Super League.
Doncaster were better defensively than they had been against Hull a week earlier and lasted the pace well against their full-time opponents.
Castleford dominated territorially in the first quarter and Nathan Masssey touched down on 19 minutes.
Doncaster drew level on 27 minutes. Young scrum-half Richard Wilkinson , who again showed up well against two quality opponents, shot through a gap in the Castleford 20 and sent over the supporting Tom Holt for a try goaled by Stu Sanderson.
Castleford stand-off Ben Roberts, a close-season signing from NRL giants Melbourne Storm, charged over from close range to make it 10-6.
Castleford made a strong start to the second half with Liam Finn, who again added the extras, helping to set up a 44th minute try for hooker Tom Holmes.
Then centre Ashley Gibson touched down following some good support play.
Former Dons half-back Luke Gale tagged on the conversion to make it 22-6.
Dons claimed a second try after centre Liam Welham did well to off-load the ball to stand-off Josh Kittrick close to the line on the hour. Sanderson’s goal cut the deficit to ten points.
But for a kinder bounce from Wilkinson’s kick Mike Kelly would have fancied his chances of a 65th minute try and closing the gap to six points with a conversion to come.
Solomona latched on to the loose ball and raced 90 metres to score another converted try to kill off any Doncaster hopes. Gibson bagged a second late on to give Cas a flattering margin of victory.
Dons: Scott, Doherty, Gilbey, Welham, Sanderson, Kittrick, Wilkinson, Spiers, Kesik, Carbutt, Foster, Kelly, Wilson. Subs: Cowling, Robinson, Clark, Waller, Waterman, Palmer, Holt.