No such thing as a ‘friendly’

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SHEFFIELD Eagles’ coach Mark Aston sees the final pre-season game at Doncaster on Sunday as key to assessing his new squad’s strengths.

Aston will include Joe Hirst, Menzie Yere, Misi Taulapapa and Quentin Laulu-Togagae, who missed the first warm-up game at Wakefield through suspension. “There’s no such thing as a ‘friendly’. We will see where the players are at this weekend with a view to the start of the Northern Rail Cup,” he said.

“The lads who missed Wakefield will play, Michael Knowles and Liam Higgins also need more game time and we need to look at the half backs again.”

Prop forward Higgins will be playing against his home-town club, scrum-half Simon Brown faces his old team and a late decision will be taken on whether another former Don’s star Peter Green plays.

In a hint of his thinking for the new season Taulapapa is set to start on the wing with fellow Samoan international Laulu-Togagae being handed the full-back shirt.

New signing Aaron Smith faces a fitness test after the former Castleford hooker injured a shoulder in training. Players who were involved in the autumn internationals and played at Wakefield will be rested with Aston including some reserves in a squad at the Keepmoat (3pm).

Young South Yorkshire forwards Sam Williamson, Leigh Sanders, Dan Hawksworth and hooker Nathan Warmsley are set to play.

Aston said: “We won’t go in disrespecting Doncaster, they had a good win over Hunslet last weekend. We’ll take a very strong squad but it will have some of the kids I want to show what playing at this level is about.”

The game will be played for the Autism Plus South Yorkshire Cup.