FALLING one game away from glory will make Sheffield Eagles even ‘more hungry’ for success believes coach Mark Aston.
The Eagles kick-off the new season at Workington on Sunday but the memory of the Grand Final defeat to Featherstone five months ago is still alive.
“It was a successful season last year yet we didn’t win anything,” said Aston. “We got to a final but the disappointment of losing was there for everyone to see, it makes you more hungry.”
The Eagles have four weeks of the Northern Rail Cup group stages to play before the league season starts. Aston will use the games – Workington and Doncaster away and home to Leigh and York – to blend his new signings into the team and decide on the best 17.
Seven signings have given Aston options he didn’t have last year and 23 of the 25-man squad available for Sunday’s game. There will be big competition for places in the outside backs with Nev Morrison, signed from Hull FC after a spell on loan at Doncaster, likely to get an early chance as centre partner for Menzie Yere.
Dominic Brambani’s return from Dewsbury creates an exciting attacking pairing at half-back. His partnership with Simon Brown will be crucial.
Doncaster-born prop forward Liam Higgins has returned from Wakefield with Mitch Stringer and Alex Rowe sidelined and Michael Knowles gives the back row an extra attacking edge.