Rovers Official website met up with Dons Chief Executive Carl Hall ahead of the Grand Final.
As an important part of the ‘Club Doncaster’ concept, The Dons Rugby League team have been a successful partner this season winning the league, making it to the Championship One Grand Final this Sunday at Warrington and also cleared up at the annual Rugby League awards.
Carl, it’s been quite a season.
Yes, it’s been a rewarding season and nothing short of what the players deserve. We went to the RFL awards and won the Coach of the Year and Paul Cooke won Player of the Year and the Northern Star Award, which he’s really proud of as that’s for work he does in the community. To top it off we won the Club of the Year award as well which was testament to everyone.
The club has had quite a year. We know in the past you’ve had some financial problems but you’ve kept within the constraints and really handled it well.
Well it’s not just this year; it’s been a three year process. We came in year one which was a very tough year but we got through it. Financially we were good but we needed to stabilise it. In the second year we started creeping up the leagues and then in year three we won the league for the first time in the club’s history. So, we must be doing something right!
You’re getting a lot of support from the other partners in the stadium. There’s the bit about Club Doncaster. It must be good to have that support.
Yes, it’s great. We all play here so we are in all this together and it’s great for the town. Our focus now is to try and increase the crowds. If we are all in it together, we can offer some ticket initiatives and incentives like that which can only be good for us all.
You’ve got a big game on Sunday; it’s another final. The lads must be feeling it now as it’s been one of those seasons where it’s one thing after another.
Yes and we got really knocked about last week against Workington. It was a very, very physical game and we’re feeling it. We just have to patch them up this week, take it easy on them and then we’ve just got one last effort to go and win the grand final.
We need Doncaster behind you this week and every week. It’s Club Doncaster and we want everyone behind you.
Yes, I think they are but I don’t know whether they can all get to the game as it’s tough with it being in Warrington. We’re getting lots of well wishers sending us messages. In the Free Press John Ryan wished us well, even though he’s away on holiday, so we’re grateful for that. It’s great for someone like John to wish us well in the press and we appreciate it. He was also one of the first people to text me in the week after we won the awards and saying that he was genuinely happy for us. That was brilliant. It’s about time this club had some positive news as we’ve always been in the press but not for the right reasons but hopefully we’re now turning things around. On top of that we’ve got a promotion and we all know what it takes to play in the Championship.
You said three years and this is the third year you’re going into now. What are your plans for this year?
Well, this is the third year now and we’ve had some fun. Going forward, we are back to year one like the first year we took over the club so we’re in ‘year one 2013’ with another three year plan. We’re hoping we can go the same way as we have so far. We need to establish ourselves in the Championship next year, move up the ladder on year two and hopefully look to have some fun in year three.
It is a target for most rugby league clubs to get in the Super League but it is a hard one to get isn’t it?
Yes, you’ll hardly ever hear me using that word because we don’t want to kid ourselves. We’re a mile away from that yet and we need to focus fully on the Championship, get our side right there and then whatever happens after that is a bonus. I’m pretty sure every club would love to be in that big league upstairs but we like to keep it on an even keel and not get ahead of ourselves. While I’m in charge here, we’ll never get ahead of ourselves.