SHEFFIELD EAGLES: Pain of final defeat spurs on Jack Howieson

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PROP forward Jack Howieson has carried the memory of last season’s Grand Final defeat for long enough.

The Sheffield Eagles captain plans to shake off that burden when they face Featherstone Rovers again on Sunday.

“We were outclassed last year,” he said. “Featherstone were easily the best team on the day and deserved their win. It’s a replay of last year but hopefully there’ll be a different result. We’re playing well and had three good wins in a row in the play-offs.

“A lot of the lads played in last year’s final and some have played in big games in Australia – that’ll count.”

Howieson believes the Eagles got too confident last year after battling through three play-off rounds and those mistakes won’t be repeated.

“It’s been a bit different this year,” he said. “Last year, we weren’t expected to get to the Grand Final and we played Leigh away in the semi and won and we celebrated that game too much. This time we’ll concentrate on the final and Featherstone.”

The Scottish international knows the forwards will have to head off the kind of charge that saw Rovers shoot into a two-try lead before winning 40-4 last year. Then he’s counting on the flair and pace of the Eagles backs.

“We have some players who can score tries out of nothing – we’ve seen that in the play-offs. In some games there wasn’t a lot between the teams for long periods but QLT (Quentin Laulu-Togagae), Misi (Taulapapa) or Menzie (Yere) can go in and score tries that took us on. That’s always an advantage,” he said.

Howieson is the Eagles longest serving player and the veteran of more than 260 games having signed when a student at Sheffield Hallam in 2000. Outside the game he runs Playball a business teaching young children co-ordination and ball skills through play.

The cards will be stacked in Featherstone’s favour at the Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington on Sunday. Back row forward Joe Hirst is out with a broken jaw.

Finishing top of the league gave Featherstone the advantage of having to play only one game to reach the final against the Eagles three.