Senior players have been told to fight for their places in the first team as Sheffield Eagles bid to revive their faltering season.
Coach Mark Aston turned to youth with forwards Alex Palmer, Jack Blagbrough and his half-back son Cory drafted into the team for the trip to Whitehaven.
The Eagles went down 24-22 but showed the spirit to stage a late charge that took them within one score of a win.
“The players who were not selected have to show the fight to want to get back in the team,” said Aston.
That’s thrown down a challenge to experienced players like Patch Walker and Andrew Henderson who were left out.
Aston added: “It’ll be ‘play for your position’.
“The player left out must be strong enough to say to the player selected: ‘Good luck but I’m having it back off you.’
“I want that competition and we haven’t had it but it’s what I aimed to bring back into the squad last weekend.”
The coach desperately needs to find a winning blend with a losing bonus point from the Whitehaven game keeping Championship title holders in mid-table but losing ground on the leaders.
Aston has to decide if he keeps faith with the younger players with a home game against another Cumbrian team Workington Town at Owlerton on Sunday.
Town lost 28-16 to Leigh at the weekend and are in the relegation places but Eagles have won only one of their five home games this season.