Ryan is waiting in wings to make a telling impact

Sheffield Eagles vs Halifax 'Ryan Hepworth on the run
Sheffield Eagles vs Halifax 'Ryan Hepworth on the run
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He’ll be on the subs’ bench watching and waiting, ready for the call to action. That usually comes around 20 minutes into the game when he replaces one of the starting props.

It’s the routine for Hepworth with him starting in only three of his 26 games this season.

“I honestly don’t mind coming off the bench. I wouldn’t say I prefer it but I don’t mind it,” he said. “The lads go out there and make a start and you can sit on the bench and see weaknesses, see where you want to exploit and you can come on and do that. The start of the game is always high intensity and it takes a lot out of you so coming off the bench is a little bit of an advantage in that respect.”

Hepworth, 30, came into the professional game late. He joined the Eagles five seasons ago after being spotted while playing for the Royal Marines and Navy rugby league teams. In his time with the Marines he served in some of the world’s hot spots including tours in Iraq shortly before joining the Eagles.

“It’s a massive change from the Marines and being out in places like Iraq,” he says. “When I came out and signed for Sheffield the set up was so different and it took me a couple of years to get many first team appearances.

“I’ve worked my way into the team and I’ve been playing pretty decent and getting in regularly now.”

The Grand Final will be the biggest game of Hepworth’s career and coming from Wakefield beating Featherstone will be special.

He said: “It is very much more local for me, I know a few lads who play for Featherstone. They are a cracking side but we’re confident after four outstanding wins back to back.”

Eagles will make a desperate attempt tonight to have a ban on Menzie Yere playing in Sunday’s final lifted.

They will appeal against a two-match suspension imposed on the centre by an RFL disciplinary tribunal on Tuesday. Yere was found guilty of a dangerous throw tackle in the semi-final win at Leigh.

Coach Mark Aston said: “We owe it to Menzie - he’s got two games and it’s the final. If he played for Leeds or Wigan maybe it wouldn’t happen.”