Doncaster Rugby League head coach Gary Thornton spoke to the official website following Sunday’s clash with Leeds Rhinos.
The Dons produced a spirited performance, but a young Rhinos side ran out 26-18 winners at the Keepmoat Stadium.
Thornton still feels improvements need to be made ahead of the season getting underway.
I’ve got mixed feelings to be honest, there were lots of positives to come out of it, it was good to see Makali Aizue and Matt Nicholson and I thought they showed us potential of what they will offer us,” said Thornton.
“I’m disappointed to lose, we started the game really well and if Zac (Braham) scores under the sticks it is 12-0 and it could have been a different game.
“I don’t think we approached the game in the right frame of mind, I think we could have been better with that, we got a little bit carried away after the score line against Oxford and maybe didn’t prepare mentally properly for the game.
“It was a bit blustery, the conditions weren’t great and the execution wasn’t that good from either side. I thought we tried to go wide too early off some slow play the balls and Leeds got up in our faces.
“It was difficult to create anything which we will address, we certainly want to get going forwards before we go sideways, but I think we looked to play the football a little bit too early.
“Leeds are a good side, I was impressed with them, there were a couple of Super League players in there with Anthony Mullally and Josh Walters along with Ashton Golding at full-back who I thought was very good.
“We knew it would be a tough test and that is what we wanted, that is what these games are all about, we have lost the game which is disappointing, but we’ve learnt some lessons as well.
“We’ve got a lot of hard work, we are not taking our foot off the gas, we are not where we want to be yet, that is clear.
“We have two weeks of pretty tough work ahead of us and then Pete Green and I will decide what the best 17 is from what we have seen in the last three games.
“It’s difficult sometimes making all these changes and it is a bit disruptive and that happens in warm up games, so I am looking forward to having 17 players out there because we can manage that a lot better.
“We have some hard work to do, we are still not winning the collisions like I would like us to, we are still not dominating defensively like I would like us to, so we have some improvements to make.
“On the back of that you can start executing a little bit better, but we need to be better defensively first before we can improve our attack.”
Trialists Sam Crowther and Brad England came on for the Dons and Thornton also spoke about their impact.
“Sam has been with us since November, but unfortunately he’s been poorly and hasn’t trained very much and Sunday was the first chance to see him play,” added Thornton.
“Brad I know from my days at Castleford, he has been released by York City Knights and has become available.
“We bought him into take a look at him, I know a lot about him, I thought he looked dangerous and did really well so we will see what comes of that.
“We have seen everyone now, we know what they are all about and it is now about picking our best 17.”
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