MARK Aston is preparing Sheffield Eagles’ players to win a mental and physical battle when they face Featherstone Rovers at the Big Fellas stadium tomorrow (6pm).
He’s determined to exploit any ‘flicker of doubt’ in the make up of a team that has lost only three league games in two years.
“Featherstone will have quite a lot of psychological advantages, they beat us in the Grand Final last year when we didn’t play well,” he said. “But they know that we’re a quality team and that we’re capable of beating them on our day.
“There will always be that little flicker of doubt in their mind and we need to play on that and go there with a strong mental attitude.”
Aston’s not just playing mind games he’s also planning to curb the on field threat from Rovers half-backs Andy Kain and Liam Finn plus hooker Ben Kaye.
“Featherstone have got Kain, Finn, Kaye – good players who if you don’t ‘drain’ them physically will ask questions of us,” said Aston. “We need to be more disciplined, more respectful and competing in every situation.”
Prop Mitch Stringer faces a fitness check but Aston is unlikely to make major changes as Eagles bid to bounce back from their first defeat in seven games against the team that hammered them 40-4 in last year’s Grand Final.
Rovers have dominated the Championship in the last two seasons but Aston believes it’s the ideal game for his players following the 50-18 defeat by Halifax.
He said: “It’s all about winning and Featherstone have been beaten this season by Batley in the Rail Cup. After Halifax we’ve spoken about how it’s good to be backing up with another tough game against a big team, we want big games that will challenge us.”
England Youth team had a convincing 34-0 win over Wales at Mount St Mary’s College, Spinkhill.