Eagles need high standards at Centurions

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SHEFFIELD Eagles credentials as a top-six team face a massive test when they travel to Leigh Centurions.

The Eagles have been put to the sword conceding more than 100 points in league and cup meetings with the Centurions so far this season.

The game at Leigh Sports Village tomorrow (kick-off 3pm) marks the start of four tough away games and is followed on Thursday by a trip to Featherstone Rovers.

Eagles’ coach Mark Aston knows a big performance and a shock win would set the tone for the games ahead.

“We have a big test at Leigh because we’ve been very disappointing whenever we have come up against them this year and they have put up a few points on us,” he said. “We need to be a bit better than we were in the other two games but we know that we’re capable of going to Leigh and then to Featherstone and getting a result.”

Leigh are the form team in the competition with five straight wins and after lifting the Northern Rail Cup with a 20-16 defeat of Halifax last weekend.

A powerful pack includes Chris Hill who is to join Warrington Wolves at the end of the season. Behind the pack are half-backs Martin Ridyard and James Ellis who is off to Hull FC when his loan from St Helens ends.

Aston added: “They are big but we can match them up front and they have some good half-backs but so have we, so it’ll be an exciting game.

“Leigh will be on a high and they have been the most consistent team in the league this season. They will have celebrated after the Rail Cup win but it’ll be back to business on Sunday.”

The Eagles go into the match after three weekends without a game and that has given a chance for a number of players to shake off niggling injuries.

Utility man Dane McDonald is in contention after proving his fitness with two tries for the reserves.

Aston is confident he will have centre Jason Crookes back to partner fellow on-loan Bradford Bulls’ winger Vinny Finigan.

For the record, this season, Leigh have beaten the Eagles 68-6 in the Rail Cup group stage and 44-8 in a league game at Bramall Lane.