Hard work starts for Eagles

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True to form Sheffield Eagles pulled off the shock of the weekend games with a win at fourth-placed Doncaster. Now things get really challenging as they return for a double-header at Owlerton.

The games, against newly-relegated Swinton Lions and struggling Whitehaven, offer a different kind of challenge.

Victories could go a long way towards cementing a play-off place - but it’s at Owlerton, where the Eagles have won only three out of ten league games. Home form, or a lack of it, has been a feature of what coach Mark Aston increasingly refers to as a “Jekyll and Hyde” season.

“It’s no good blaming Owlerton, we’ve been talking about that all season now we need to kick on,” he said.

“Doncaster was a massive boost because they are a good team.

“It wasn’t pretty but we won and we should have been more clinical and racked up more points.

“No false promises but hopefully that’s the confidence boost we needed.”

Moving Kyle Briggs to stand-off gave the team more direction at the Keepmoat.

Briggs, who had played three games at loose-forward following his signing from Featherstone last month, looked the part in a more pivotal role.

Tries from another newcomer, Etu Uaisele, and Matt Garside gave Eagles a 12-10 lead at half-time. That turned into a deficit 22-12 midway though the second half before Briggs set up tries for Quentin Laulu-Togagae and Menzie Yere to level the scores.

Winger Scott Turner’s 23rd try of the season sealed a 26-22 win nine minutes from time.

Aston felt Briggs has “stamped his authority” on the team at Doncaster and will be hoping for a repeat against Swinton at Owlerton on Sunday (kick-off 2pm).

As a newcomer to the squad Briggs doesn’t carry the baggage that’s handicapped the team at the dog track.

Club captain Mitch Stringer is a doubt with a knee injury that’s been troubling him all season. With Will Hope returning to his parent club Salford the options in the pack are looking thin.

It makes the need for a rare “home double” over the next weeks all the more important.