Doncaster RLFC: Key men in race to be fit for must-win game

Gary Thornton
Gary Thornton

Doncaster RLFC boss Gary Thornton is sweating over the fitness of several key players ahead of Saturday’s opening Championship Shield game against London Broncos at The Hive.

Among the players that Thornton will be checking on at tomorrow’s training session at Cantley Park will be influential scrum-half Paul Mennell, props Matt Groat and Brett Waller, and full-back Tom Carr with several considered very doubtful for the must-win game.

“We had a number of people carrying knocks and we weren’t able to get much done in training last week,” said Thornton who axed one of the three regular midweek sessions as well as giving his players the weekend off to help them recharge their batteries.

”I’m just glad we didn’t have a game at the weekend but I’m hoping the extra week will help the bulk of the players shake off their knocks,” said Thornton.

“But given the significance of the game in that if we lose we are relegated, some players may have to play even though they are not fully fit.”

Adding to Thornton’s problems is the fact that Hull FC have recalled full-back Curtis Naughton, who won’t now be available for any of the club’s Championship Shield games.

“We won’t have any dual-registered players from Hull during our Shield campaign,” said boss, who said links between the two clubs looked set to continue next season.

Thornton, who plans to clarify the situation with his Sheffield counterpart Mark Aston on the Eagles’ boss return from holiday this week, is hoping that their South Yorkshire rivals will not recall second-rower Ben Musolino, who has impressed him, from his loan spell at the club.