Performance bodes well says Dons boss Cooke

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Doncaster player-coach Paul Cooke looked to take the positives out of the club’s 13-6 Championship defeat against Featherstone Rovers at the Keepmoat Stadium yesterday.

“It was an improvement from our first game start-wise and if we continue to improve in the areas we are asking for week-to-week then we won’t be too far away from our first win,” said Cooke.

“We are a little bit disappointed, as we should be, not winning the game, but to give ourselves the opportunity to do so against one of the top two teams from last year bodes well for us moving forward.”

The Dons scored the only points of a keenly-contested first half and looked to be on course to repeat last season’s success over their fancied opponents.

But a late try and an even later drop goal earned Rovers their second successive win.

“I just felt that we lost our way in the second half. We lost field position and the battle for territory,” said Cooke.

“We just needed to kick smarter (in the blustery conditions) and get better field position and that was probably the over-riding factor why we lost the game by seven points.

“We had to come off our line more than they did in the second half.

“Our tactics were affected not only by the conditions but also by the way they play the game. They play a lot from dummy-half and around the ruck and we wanted to stay tight and make them go around us.”