Aston optimistic over fan backing

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SHEFFIELD Eagles hope to bring a touch of Aussie style rugby league atmosphere to their game with Dewsbury Rams tonight.

The game is being played at Mount St Mary’s College, Spinkhill, with spectators able to watch from grass banks on two sides of the pitch.

With a hot evening forecast coach Mark Aston is predicting fast, high action on the pitch and a relaxed atmosphere off it.

“It will be a bit like watching Australian rugby league in Queensland at clubs like Ipswich Jets,” he said. “A fast, dry pitch with great atmosphere, barbecue weather and the crowd close to the action having a good time.”

Aston is trying to distance his players from the row over playing the game at a private school – a move forced on the Eagles with Don Valley and Bramall Lane unavailable for pitch reseeding and Dewsbury refusing alternative dates.

The ground has been approved by the RFL and the Eagles trained on the pitch last night as Aston pondered possible changes from the team that hammered Hunslet Hawks 70-12 last weekend.

“All I’m interested in is another win,” said Aston. “It’s important that we get the right result, Dewsbury can argue about the venue but it’s a piece of grass at the end of the day and we’re about playing rugby.”

He could have only one of the four dual registration loan players available for the game which kicks off at 7.30pm.

Kyle Wood is doubtful after injuring an ankle early in the Hunslet game and that would see Quentin Laulu-Togagae starting a half-back.

Jamie Cording, also on loan from Huddersfield is not certain to be released and Jason Crookes is expect to stay with Bradford but winger Vinny Finigan also from the Bulls should play.

Aston added: “There’s players on the edge of the squad who are itching to have a go, Sam Scott, Nick Turnbull, Eddie Battye. Dane McDonald is not far off being fit and ‘Q’ (Quentin Laulu-Togagae) was very good in the second half against Hunslet and he might start even if Woody is fit.”

Salford have announced the appointment of Australian Matt Parish as their new head coach. The 42-year-old will succeed countryman Shaun McRae, who left his post at The Willows due to ill health in April.