NEWS | Horne assesses first run out

NEWS | Horne assesses first run out

7th January 2019

Dons head coach Richard Horne felt that his side could have competed better in their opening pre-season friendly against Hull FC at the Keepmoat Stadium.

The Dons were beaten 12 points to 72 by duel registration partners Hull FC and Horne admitted his team could have competed better around the rucks, but expressed it was a tough task with just 14 fully fit outfield members. 

"I thought we could have been better around the ruck. That was something we'd worked on and I thought they'd dominated in an area I thought we'd compete a lot better in so that was disappointing,” he said. 

"But, I can't fault their efforts, some of the boys who are middles stayed out for 65 and 70 minutes, so we wouldn't be in that situation usually. We lost two players before the warm up so we were down to 16 men, but it was a fair effort from the lads.

"I didn't think we started the game too badly, we defended plays one and two and then in the third play we'd lose a ruck and Jez Litten in at nine for Hull showed what he can do. He was very quick, got out there and got them on the front foot, so we were on the back foot a fair bit.

"For a 15 minute period, we got back into the game and had a few opportunities but then we conceded a few penalties and let them back in and they showed the class that they have.

"I think there was a fatigue element, we were down to 14 players after 30 minutes and our rotation went out of the window, we had players playing in positions they don't usually play and boys staying out on the field for a lot longer than they should have, and it showed. They had a full strength 22 man squad so it took its toll on us a little bit."

The Dons fielded four trialists with Harris Jones, Matty Chrimes, Ryan Dixon, and 16-year-old Kieron Lawton all given starts after Horne was forced to make changes due to injuries, but he admitted afterwards he was pleased with their performances, especially Lawton. 

"Before kick-off, Kieran was due to get 20 minutes but he ended up playing a full 80 due to the fact we had lost Liam Welham, so for a 16-year-old kid to go out there against an experienced Hull team and play the way he did was good.

"Don't get me wrong there was a few errors and he is lacking experience but I thought he had a really solid game.

"I thought Ryan Dixon had a solid performance as well, considering he had never played at this level, he's come from the amateur game and he is someone we have taken a punt on. To get Man of the Match on his first appearance, I'm really happy for him."

With a short turnaround before the visit of Leeds Rhinos to the Keepmoat Stadium on Sunday, Horne admitted that there is still plenty of work to do, but he is sure the result will not put a dampener on the morale of his squad.

"We have taken a few knocks and we'll see on Tuesday how those lads are, this game was about getting back in to contact, getting back in to timing and obviously we were a little bit out on that.

"We have a lot to work on, but we still have seven or eight weeks until we start our season against Newcastle. We have a fair few weeks to get things right and I'm sure we will.

"The result hasn't disheartened anything, we were up against a well-drilled outfit that get to train against each other every day, where as we train for four hours a week, so we are going to be behind in the levels they are at. I'm sure in another four or five weeks we'll be in a lot better place."

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NEWS | Horne assesses first run out