The old adage that the formbook goes out of the window in derby games didn’t ring true at the Keepmoat Stadium last night.
In-form Sheffield Eagles showed just why they are flying high in third place as they claimed a 26-4 victory to post a sixth successive league win.
Yet there were further signs, following on from Sunday’s much-improved display in the 16-14 defeat against Batley, that things are starting to pick up for the Dons.
There was much to admire about the Dons’ defensive qualities - especially compared to the games against Workingon, Hunslet and North Wales.
The team spirit in the side was there to see and a lot of teams would have folded turning round 16-0 down especially having lost hooker Kyle Kesik.
But the Dons edged the second half and were drawing 4-4 until Eagles scored on the final play.
The Dons could have run Eagles even closer had scrum-half Richard Wilkinson, who was starting to dictate the proceedings, not come off just after young winger Sam Doherty had scored on 52 minutes.
There were fears last night that he may need further knee surgery.
The Dons’ cause wasn’t helped either when half-back Danny Nicklas was sin-binned for dissent midway through the second half.
The game marked the half-back’s first outing in over a year following a serious knee injury. “It was great to be back,” he said.
The Dons’ defeat makes it even more important that they win Easter Monday’s clash against second-bottom Whitehaven.