Sheffield Eagles return to the Steel City tomorrow night with Director of Rugby Mark Aston asking the people of Sheffield to get behind his exiled team.
The Eagles have been playing at Doncaster’s Keepmoat Stadium for most of this season, but will end a highly eventful campaign on and off the field with back-to-back home games at Bramall Lane.
Aston’s exiles return to S2 where they previously enjoyed a three year spell between 2010 and 2013, looking to end the Super 8s by springing a major surprise by beating Super League opposition.
They host Hull KR (7.45pm) as the Super 8 pace setters take on the Eagles who slipped to the foot of the mini-league after Halifax’s surprise victory against Leigh last weekend.
The return to Sheffield has reignited the final two games of a tough Super 8 as coach Aston looks to rally his troops to mark the return in the style.
“It is very exciting,” Aston grinned. “We are hoping to see a big crowd for what will be a big challenge. There is absolutely no pressure on us and if we play like we did at Salford then we can challenge anybody, I have no doubt about that.
“We need to build a belief that we can play and that we can compete in this environment. The story is there to be seen now. We went to Salford and scored 34 points, okay we got beat, but we have shown we can compete. We will take plenty of belief from that performance into this game, and if we can get the Sheffield people behind us we know we can perform.”
The long term future is still unclear. The Eagles are expected to move into their new home back on the old Don Valley site in 2017, but rumours have continued to circulate of a short-term stay at the Lane for next season. A decision is expected to be confirmed at the end of the current season.
“We need the people of Sheffield behind us, we need a big crowd on Friday to say ‘Sheffield Eagles are back on the map,’ Aston continued.
“We are going full-time next year, and we are looking to be back in the middle eights. Can we play in Sheffield next year? Who knows, but these are the big stepping stones for us.”
Rovers boss Chris Chester has already confirmed that he will be fielding a weakened side for the fixture, after the Robins confirmed their place in Super League next season following five wins from five Super 8 fixtures.