ANDREW HENDERSON admitted that his York Knights side deserved to lose in their Betfred Championship season-opening defeat to newly-promoted Doncaster.

A second-half collapse from York saw Doncaster run out 36-20 winners at the Eco-Power Stadium, with the Knights failing to start their Championship campaign in a celebratory manner in South Yorkshire.

The performance disappointed Henderson, who admitted that the Knights deserved to lose despite the impact of the interchanges pleasing the York Head Coach.

“It’s a disappointing one for us, but we got what we deserved,” Henderson admitted.

“It’s as simple as that, in the first-half we didn’t start with enough energy or intent and I thought that we were slow out of the blocks.

“There was a spell of period in the first-half where we came out with four negative actions on the bounce, Doncaster got the foothold of the game because in the first 20 it was very even.

“Both teams were going set for set, I don’t think we showed quite enough intent or purpose in our actions but it was a closely-fought contest.

“We came up with an error, a penalty, another error and a penalty and all of a sudden we were 12-0 down and Doncaster were in the ascendancy.

"I thought that if we could sure up those areas at half-time then I was confident that we could come home and earn a result.

“But it was the most horrendous start to a second-half that I have seen in a long time, seven negative actions on the bounce. It all starts with a kick-off that we failed to collect, they score their next set and we have got to be better there, we expect better and I know that this team is better.

“It’s what’s frustrating, we sort of surrendered that first defensive set. We kick long, give away a penalty, next time we get the ball we give an error away, you can see the pattern and we’re putting ourselves under far too much pressure.

“In that opening 20 minutes of the second-half, we only had six sets and  held the ball for one of them.

“They just had waves and waves of field possession and opportunities, and they did it to be fair.

“If you’re going to invite teams into your 20 as much as we did in the second-half, then you’re going to be expected to come unstuck at some point.

“Once we got back onto the script to some degree, we managed to jag a couple of tries and showed a bit more patience with the ball.

“We earned some field position, got some opportunities but it was few and far between today.

“There’s no gripes from us, we were second best today to a very hungry and determined Doncaster side, far too many of our players didn’t play as we expected.”

The performance wasn’t to the expectations of Henderson, but he was pleased with the impact of the Knights’ interchanges, and in particular Ata Hingano after a passionate display at loose forward.

Henderson enthused: “I thought the bench guys gave us a real life, Josh Daley, Jack Teanby off of the bench, Ronan Michael and in particular Ata Hingano.

“He gave us a real injection off of the bench and got the energy level going.

“It helped us to get back into the contest, and to go into half-time down at 12-10 I wasn’t too disheartened because we weren’t the best.”