Back to drawing board for Eagles chief

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AN experiment that saw Sheffield Eagles’ team packed with prop forwards is to be put on the back burner by coach Mark Aston.

Six front rowers were included in the 17 – three starting and three on the subs’ bench - for the drawn game with Whitehaven. Aston plans to give the team a better balance for the trip to Leigh Centurions next weekend. “We won’t go to Leigh with the same sort of squad with a big bench,” he said. “We need continuity over the next couple of weeks. When you throw one or two new people in and they play in different positions it takes a bit of time to get them used to each other.”

Aston’s options are limited with Samoans Misi Taulapapa and Quentin Laulu-Togagae still waiting for visas. It could see Aston to make a loan deal.

Aston started the Whitehaven game with Jack Howieson and Liam Higgins at prop with Mitch Stringer in the second row. On the bench were Ryan Hepworth, Alex Rowe and Eddie Battye. The decision was influenced by a wet pitch at Don Valley and the need to combat a big Haven pack.

The line-up paid off to a limited degree with two of the Eagles three tries – including the vital final score that earned an 16-16 draw – coming from Hepworth and Stringer. Aston said: “We needed the forwards against a big team and the conditions weren’t good.”

Dropping a point means Eagles need a win at Leigh next weekend to have a chance of progressing beyond the group stages of the Northern Rail Cup. Eagles and Doncaster will know who they face in the third round of the Carnegie Challenge Cup today. Into the hat go the 21 Co-operative Championship and Championship One clubs, French side FC Lezignan, the Army and 13 community clubs.