Eagles sweat over key duo’s availability

10-try romp: The Eagles power to victory over York at Bramall Lane on Sunday.              Picture: Alan Janaszek
10-try romp: The Eagles power to victory over York at Bramall Lane on Sunday. Picture: Alan Janaszek
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A RACE against time is on to get Sheffield Eagles half-back Simon Brown fit for the play-off clash with Widnes Vikings.

Playmaker Brown limped off in the final minute of the first half in the win over York and spent the rest of the game in the dug out with an ice pack on his right thigh.

“Simon’s got another knock on a dead leg and it’s pretty sore at the moment. Sometimes dead legs can heal quickly. It’s a quick turnaround and we’ll do everything we can to make sure he’s fit for Friday night,” said coach Mark Aston.

Brown has a key role in the Eagles game plan putting pressure on the opposition with his precise kicking game.

Aston faces the added worry that centre Menzie Yere could be suspended for the game when he appears before the RFL disciplinary committee tonight. The Papua New Guinea international has been charged with making dangerous contact with a head slam tackle in the game against Featherstone two weeks ago.

“It’s a big concern,” said Aston. “The chances are that Menzie will miss the Widnes game. It’s unjustified, this is a physical game.”

The 52-18 demolition of York saw the Eagles finish the league season in fourth place on 39 points. That earned a home game in the first round of the play-offs against Widnes Vikings.

The Vikings lost their final game 44-4 to Featherstone – a win that ensured Rovers, coached by former Eagles star Daryl Powell, of the Championship leaders shield for a second successive season.

Aston feels that playing at home could give the Eagles the edge: “I’m pleased that Sheffield United have agreed we can play at Bramall Lane.

Hull KR have agreed to release Australian second row forward Clint Newton from the last year of his contract to enable him to return to the NRL with Penrith Panthers.

The former Melbourne Storm favourite, who has made 97 appearances for Rovers since making his debut in 2008, has signed a two-year deal with the Panthers.

Rovers chairman Neil Hudgell said: “Clint’s reasons for wanting to return home now are perfectly understandable, and, given his exemplary service to the club over the last four years, we were prepared to grant him a release.”