SHEFFIELD Eagles’ coach Mark Aston has thrown down a challenge to his professional players ahead of the Challenge Cup game against an amateur team.
“Our players have to show why they get paid to play professional rugby league – stand up and do the job or cop the flak,” he said.
Eagles face the students of Leeds Met University at Don Valley on Sunday, (3pm.)
Aston added: “We need to be very respectful and disciplined, make sure we stick to the game plan we have set out. We need to get a bit of momentum in our game and score some points.” Aston will be without dual registration players Kyle Wood and Jamie Cording whose parent club Huddersfield do not want to be cup tied.
That leaves him with a back line that picks itself and includes two Hallam Uni students in fullback Jamie Cottle and centre Corey Hanson.
It’s the pack where the Eagles should have the power and experience to control possession and set up a platform for fit again half-back Simon Brown.
Aston will expect his props – Jack Howieson, Mitch Stringer and Liam Higgins – to dominate the lighter student front row. The pack will be boosted by the return of Alex Szostak to the second row.
A win is vital for the Eagles – opening up a place in the fourth round and a possible draw against a Super League club
Leeds Met are the top student team this season winning the university’s Super 8 title two weeks ago.
Amateur teams have increasingly caused upsets in the competition with Doncaster losing to Halifax club Siddal last year and the Eagles have memories of going out to Thornhill Trojans in 2000.
Aston added: “It will be a strong team, we’re not playing well enough to take any game lightly. We are not in the position where we are picking from a full strength squad so every player has to stand up and be counted.”
Meanwhile Samoan international signing back Quentin Togagae is expected to arrive at the Eagles next week.