Sheffield Eagles aim to launch their end-of-season charge for trophies by winning the Northern Rail Cup for the first time today.
Coach Mark Aston sees a win over Leigh Centurions as the boost that will take his team on to a league title.
“It starts with the Rail Cup - it’s the springboard for the rest of the season,” he said.
“We have to refocus, relax and freshen ourselves up and talk about what we want to achieve for the rest of the season. It’s going to be a tough few weeks but this next phase of the season is very important to us and it starts now.”
The Eagles players must show there’s no hangover from the defeat by London Broncos in a high-profile Challenge Cup quarter-final.
“London was the first time we’d lost since April. Now it’s gone and we can start winning games again and get that momentum going,” said Aston.
“Plenty of people have stood up against London - Scott Turner had his best game for a while and Misi Taulapapa was great for us. There are people playing well and they will take us into the back end of the season.
“We didn’t start well with the ball against London but defensively we were outstanding against a Super League team.”
The Rail Cup is the knockout competition for professional clubs outside Super League and the final is being shown live on satellite channel Premier Sports.
Leigh have won the trophy three times but the Eagles will be in their first final when the teams meet at the Shay, Halifax, today, kick-off 5pm.
Eagles half-backs Patch Walker and Dominic Brambani will have to dominate after being thrown out of their stride early in the London game.
If they can take control, the backs, with Quentin Laulu-Togagae, Menzie Yere and Tom Armstrong ,scoring tries regularly should be too strong for Leigh who the Eagles beat 40-18 in the league earlier this season.
Aston said: “We gave Leigh a touch up at their place but this is a different kettle of fish - a cup final.
“It’s going to be a real test. Leigh have got the right ingredients - at half-back people with a good kicking game. Tthey have smartness around the ruck and have some big blokes up front.”
“Our half-backs are very important, they have to put the ball in the right areas. We have to be better in what we serve up at the end of our sets than against London and if we do that I’m confident we can win.”
Eagles’ reserve Corey Hanson is in the Jamaica squad to face Canada in the Caribbean Cup in Toronto, today.