Doncaster 31 Hunslet 10: Jake Sweeting keeps Dons’ season alive

YOUNG stand-off Jake Sweeting has certainly had an eventful season.

Doncaster's Jake Sweeting playing for Hunslet earlier this season. Picture: Tony Johnson

After a spell on loan at Hunslet early in the campaign, he played at Wembley for his parent club Featherstone Rovers in their 1895 Cup win at Wembley two months ago.

Signed on an emergency loan by Castleford in August, he made a try-scoring appearance in Super League for Tigers and then joined Doncaster, playing a big part in yesterday’s 31-10 win over Hunslet.

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Sweeting booted a 40-20 which led to his side’s crucial third touchdown just before the break, made a vital try-saving tackle in the second half and scored a long-range interception late on.

Victory in the League One elimination tie keeps the Dons’ season alive and they will travel to North Wales Crusaders for another sudden-death tie this weekend.

With clubs in the third tier steeling themselves for funding cuts of up to 80 per cent next year, the promotion play-offs have taken on extra importance.

That was reflected in a scrappy, nervy encounter which the hosts won thanks to their more clinical finishing, particularly in the first half.

Doncaster, coached by former Hull player Richard Horne, finished fifth in the table, one place above Hunslet and showed strong character to recover from an early 6-0 deficit and the loss of prop Zac Braham to injury soon afterwards.

They absorbed some pressure from the visitors in the third quarter and, after Matty Beharrell’s drop goal had opened a three-score gap, tries by Sweeting and Aaron Ollett-Hobson moved the game out of Hunslet’s reach, before Matty Chrimes grabbed a consolation for the visitors.

Hunslet made a good start when Wayne Reittie touched down from a kick by Dom Brambani, who had created the field position with a smart 40-20 and also added the extras.

But tries by Sam Smeaton and Brandon Douglas edged Doncaster into a 12-6 lead before, on the stroke of half-time, Liam Johnson took advantage of Sweeting’s 40-20 to leave Hunset with too much to do in the second period.

Hunslet coach Alan Kilshaw admitted: “They ran harder and tackled harder than us.”

Doncaster: Tindall, Halliday, Smeaton, Tali, Greensmith, Sweeting, Beharrell, Braham, Cockayne, Douglas, Johnson, Ollett-Hobnson, Foster. Substitutes: Bravo, York, Holdstock, Whitmore.

Hunslet: Young, Reittie, Cooke, Chrimes, Chapman-Smith, Coleman, Brambani, Wray, Whiteley, Kidfd, Hey, Straugheir, Wood. Substitutes: Halafihi, Rowe, Andrade, Summers.

Referee: N Bennett (Wakefield).