MARK Aston has revealed that he refused to watch Sheffield Eagles possible play-off opponents until after his team booked their place in the next round.
He decided against being at the Batley Bulldogs v Halifax game last week. Aston made sure of getting a DVD but that stayed unwatched until the Eagles had beaten Widnes Vikings in their knockout game. “I didn’t go to Batley – we had the game against Widnes the next night. I watched tape of Halifax’s game at Batley last weekend,” said the Eagles head coach.
“We have to take it one game at a time and Widnes came first. We’re up against a very strong team in Halifax and if we win we’re one game from the Grand Final.”
The 36-20 win over Widnes set up a second-knockout-round clash with Halifax who put the Eagles out of the play-offs last year.
Fax went on to beat Featherstone in the Grand Final but this season have struggled in the final play-off qualification place.
Aston warns that league form is no guide when it comes to the play-offs. He said: “Halifax didn’t win the Grand Final last season by a fluke and they are still an impressive team.”
The second round game will be played at Bramall Lane on Sunday. The winner will face the loser of the first qualification semi between Featherstone Rovers and Leigh Centurions being played tonight.
Prop forward Mitch Stringer (knee) and half-back Dane McDonald (shoulder) are the main injury worries for the Eagles.
Former Eagles prop forward Liam Higgins has been included in the Serbian train-on squad preparing for the 2013 Rugby League World Cup qualifying zone games to be played in this autumn.