Rugby League: In-demand Misi opts to stay put

Misi Taulapapa has penned a new two-yeal with Sheffield Eagles.
Misi Taulapapa has penned a new two-yeal with Sheffield Eagles.
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Sheffield Eagles go into tonight’s must win game against Hunslet Hawks boosted by star winger Misi Taulapapa committing his future to the club.

Victory in their final ever league game at the doomed Don Valley Stadium will keep the Eagles at the top of the Championship ahead of the likely title decider at Featherstone Rovers.

“We need to be good tonight,” said coach Mark Aston. “Hunslet are on a bit of a roll and are desperate to avoid relegation but there’s a massive amount for us to play for.”

He added: “We’re building towards the Featherstone game and Misi signing a new two-year deal is absolutely outstanding.

“He had a mammoth offer from another Championship club but has turned his back on that to stay with us. Misi is part of the fabric of the club.”

Victory tonight (kick-off 7.30pm) will maintain the Eagles three-point lead in the race for the Championship leader’s shield. They travel to Featherstone for the penultimate league game next Wednesday. Samoan international Taulapapa, 31, signed from top Australian club Cronulla Sharks in 2010. He’s played more than 100 games, scoring 48 tries.

Taulapapa said: “I’m excited to be staying. I want to end my career here.”

Aston has injury doubts over forwards Colton Roche and Joe Hirst who have knee strains. Experienced hooker Andrew Henderson is set to come back and there could be a recall for back rower forwards or centre Duane Straugheir and Matt Garside.