DISMAYED Yorkshire Carnegie coach Tommy McGee will begin the inquest today into his side’s surprisingly flat performance at Doncaster Knights admitting he is in the dark as to why they lacked the pre-requisite of basic “enthusiasm” for the derby.
They lost 29-16 at Castle Park but the margin of defeat should have been far greater given the hosts’ vast superiority.
Relegation-threatened Doncaster had lost nine successive Championship games but you would never have guessed.
McGee said: “We never got going at all. It would have been flattering to get a point in that game the way we played, the lack of energy we showed, the lack of application.
“There was a clear game-plan – I think England showed against Wales on Friday night how to control a game of rugby – but fundamentally you need to put some energy and enthusiasm into a match and I’m at a bit of a loss as to why we lacked both.
“I will be looking at that.”
Carnegie, who have had ex-Bradford Bulls head coach Francis Cummins working with them on a consultancy basis, remain ninth, their faint hopes of making the play-offs all but ended.
Doncaster clearly needed a win more and McGee added: “To the eye it looked like they were hungrier. We discussed during the week what our motivation was – for survival – but survival in the competition to potentially push for fourth.
“Survival to us was very much in our make-up, too, but we didn’t show enough to survive today or even promote that survival so that’s something the players need to answer for.”
Their line-out was a real issue highlighting how much they have begun to rely on Jack Walker, the young hooker who was away on England Under-20s duty with prop Paul Hill and flanker Josh Bainbridge.
“He has been going well but there’s guys banging at the door wanting to play and they have to deliver,” said McGee. “We missed our youngsters today – their energy and appetite for the game.
“We hugely missed Jack, Paul Hill and Josh Bainbridge as they would have had a real crack and I don’t know for the life of me why that spark wasn’t there for us and I need to find out why.”
While Carnegie host Nottingham on Sunday, Doncaster head to a Cornish Pirates side who suffered a surprise loss at Moseley, who, are just a point above the Knights.