Blast from the Past: Doncaster win the 2008 NL2 Grand Final

Imposing prop forward Mark Castle has been involved in two promotions during his time at Doncaster, and he recently took a look back at the 2008 National League Two Grand Final with Love Rugby League.

Castle, 27, says that the success of five years ago will always have a special place in his memory – as it was his first silverware in professional rugby league.

He said, “Last season, winning both the League Leaders Shield and the Grand Final, was a bigger achievement than 2008 – but you never forget the first thing you win as a professional.

“It was a special moment and as with now, it was a great time to be a Doncaster player.”

The match itself saw the Dons take on Oldham, and both sides had recent final defeats to put to rest when they met on September 28th at Warrington’s Halliwell Jones Stadium.

The Roughyeds had been beaten in the 2007 Grand Final, while Castle and co. had already lost in a showpiece event in 2008, as they were drubbed 60-nil by Salford in the Northern Rail Cup final.

Castle’s best memory of the 18-10 Grand Final win was the moment Kyle Briggs scored, and he knew that the bad memories of the cup had been erased.

“When Briggs scored, that was the best feeling. It’s a memory that sticks out, because at that point we knew we had done it.

“Looking back there was probably never any doubt, we had some brilliant players in our side.

Luke Gale (now at Bradford) was fantastic that year, and was deservedly recognised as the division’s Young Player of the Year.

“It wasn’t just Gale though, we had quality all over the pitch.”

Talking of quality, the Doncaster head coach back in 2008 was one of the sports true greats – Ellery Hanley.

“Tactically Ellery wasn’t the best, but his man-management was brilliant,” said Castle.

“He never failed to motivate us, especially before the Grand Final.

“Everybody listened to what he had to say and had massive respect for him – he’s a legend of the game.”


To win tickets to Doncaster’s next home Kingstone Press Championship match, against Swinton on Sunday 18th August, click here.

Kingstone Press Cider has teamed up with Love Rugby League to celebrate all things great about the rugby league Championships. For the rest of the season, ‘Championing the Championships’ campaign will put a weekly spotlight on each Championship and Championship 1 club to focus on their most memorable moments, look back at the clubs heroes and reward the loyal fans. Read more.

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