SHEFFIELD Eagles can complete the most remarkable double of the Championship season if they beat Featherstone Rovers tonight.
The Eagles are one of only two teams to have a league victory over Rovers – a spectacular 60-40 away win in April. Eagles’ coach Mark Aston knows the league leaders will be in a mean mood when they come to Don Valley tonight, (7.30pm.)
“Featherstone will be smarting from when we beat them so we’re in for a hard day at the office,” he said. “Featherstone are playing well at the moment, scoring plenty of points; we’ll have to be good. We have to get in there and mix it up. We won last weekend but it was a pretty poor performance and the players will be motivated to putting that right against Rovers.”
The stakes are high for both teams. Featherstone will just about wrap up their third successive league leaders’ shield with a win. Eagles can throw that race back wide open and put themselves in pole position for a third place finish with one league game to play.
Rovers arrive after crushing Swinton 86-12 with former Eagles’ winger Tangi Roparti scoring five tries in his second game back from injury. Out of the Eagles squad is back rower Duane Straugheir following a one-match ban for fighting at Halifax. Joe Hirst who scored two tries in the 30-20 win over Hunslet is a doubt (knee.)
Aston was already planning changes with Misi Taulapape set to come in on the wing. Forwards Peter Green, Sam Scott and Ryan Hepworth are all pushing for a recall. “I wasn’t happy with the performance against Hunslet - we didn’t apply ourselves correctly and respect the opposition,” said Aston. “It’s about getting the habit of winning.”