SHEFFIELD Eagles coach Mark Aston went through the agony of uncertainty as his team grimly hung on against Leigh Centurions in the play-offs semi final.
The Centurions came back from 20-4 down to cut the lead to six points before the Eagles edged a 32-22 victory with a try in the final 30 seconds.
The Eagles played 50 minutes a man down after forward Joe Hirst suffered a broken jaw and on the touchline Aston could only watch as the lead slipped away.
“My heart was going, I couldn’t relax because I knew we were going to run out of energy,” he said.
“I knew towards the last five minutes we would die because we were doing too much tackling.
“I didn’t know if we had enough in the tank but the lads put their bodies on the line.”
He added: “We were dead on our feet, we had 16 fit bodies with Joe Hirst off. It epitomises this group of people that they played until the final whistle and scored a try at the death.”
The win puts the Eagles into their second successive Championship Grand Final against Featherstone Rovers, who beat them 40-4 in last year’s final, at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington next Sunday.
Aston added: “I can’t speak highly enough of the players. Last year we were the first side outside the top two to reach a Grand Final and we’ve done it again - the hard way. We’re proud of that. I wanted it so much for the players.”
Man of the match Quentin Laulu-Togagae will learn tonight if he is to face a disciplinary charge that could put him out of the final after he was put on report by the referee.
Tickets for the Grand Final are on sale at the Eagles office at Don Valley Stadium - £17 adults and £8 concessions.