Championship round-up: Cooke’s men must heed harsh lessons

DONCASTER prepare to host Featherstone Rovers tomorrow with player-coach Paul Cooke insisting his team have learned some harsh lessons following last week’s Championship opening loss to relegated London Broncos.

Doncaster coach Paul Cooke

“Such is in the quality of the division this year that you can’t give teams the start like we did,” he said.

“When you find yourself 26 points down after 45 minutes it’s certainly a mountain to climb.

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“We can take a bit of confidence from the way we finished the game but we got nothing out of it and learned some really harsh lessons.”

Cooke has no injury concerns but will check on the fitness of Kyle Kesik, who missed last week’s game.

Featherstone coach Andy Hay saw his side win against Hunslet Hawks on Monday night but added. “We’re a new team with eight or nine players making their debuts against Hunslet. We’ve got to gel pretty quickly. Doncaster are a good side.”

Hay’s only injury concern is full-back Ian Hardman.

Bradford Bulls coach James Lowes is expecting an instant response when the fallen Super League club host Whitehaven tomorrow.

They threw away a 20-6 interval lead at champions Leigh on Sunday and he said: “It is my job to ensure that it does not happen again.

“After half-time, I felt we went away from our game plan and that was the most disappointing aspect of the game.

“Had we stuck to it, then we would have probably come away with the two points.

“We need to respond in a positive manner.”

Halifax coach Richard Marshall takes charge at The Shay for the first time with champions Leigh Centurions visiting tomorrow.

He got a win at Whitehaven in his opener but the Championship Grand Final winners will be a different proposition.

“Leigh had a good win against Bradford and are obviously a physical team so we’ll have to make sure we’re up for that and more than match them physically,” said Marshall.

Marshall has added Jacob Fairbank to his squad but is unsure whether the forward, on dual-registration from Huddersfield Giants, will play.

Batley Bulldogs coach John Kear has demanded improvements when they visit promoted Hunslet Hawks.

His side began with a 30-6 Championship win over Workington, while tomorrow’s opponents lost against Featherstone and have less preparation time, having played on Monday night.

“Our first performance was very satisfactory and the result was very pleasing but there’s no doubt we need to improve further,” said Kear.

Dewsbury Rams coach Glenn Morrison knows his side will get a reality check at Workington.

They started their Championship campaign with a rare win over Sheffield Eagles.

He said: “Obviously, it was a monkey off our backs as we hadn’t beaten them for a while but I don’t think we played overly well.

“Trips to Workington are always tough and we’re not reading too much into their performance last week.”

Sheffield Eagles coach Mark Aston desires improvements when they host London Broncos at Doncaster tomorrow.

His side started with a loss at Dewsburyy.

He said: “In the second half, we were poor. Composure was poor, discipline was poor and field position was non-existent, that’s why we lost the game.”

Aston will check on Ben Musolino (head) but second-row John Davies is close to being ready, while winger Rob Worrincy and hooker Blake South are both available.