THE partying is over for Sheffield Eagles as they started the work-up to their first Championship Grand Final.
“We’ve got three training sessions and work to do but it won’t be a problem the lads are really motivated,” said coach Mark Aston. “We’ve won through three tough play-offs rounds. It’s been a remarkable effort. We have achieved what we wanted in making a Grand Final – but there’s no point in going to a final unless you win – that’s the icing on the cake.”
The Eagles produced one of the results of the season beating Leigh Centurions 20-10 in the qualifying semi-final last Thursday. The following night they celebrated with their fans at the club’s annual dinner.
Leigh had finished second in the league after losing only one game and had won all three games against Eagles in the Championship and Rail Cup this season. Eagles will now face Featherstone Rovers, coached by former Eagles star Daryl Powell, in the Grand Final at Warrington on Sunday.
Rovers took the league leaders shield for the second season running and will be out to make up for a defeat in last year’s final to Halifax.
“It won’t be easy against a very good team,” said Aston. “We’re the first team from outside the top two to have made the final since the play-offs started. It has to be down to the players and their attitude. The boys have put a lot in during the last six to eight weeks and they have made a statement that they want to get a bit further and it’s going to take a massive team to stop us.”
Eagles came through the win at Leigh without any new injury worries. Mitch Stringer and Dane McDonald have shoulder injuries but Aston says having over a week off before the final will help their recovery. “They are struggling with shoulder injuries but they are putting themselves out there and doing what it takes,” said Aston.