Sheffield Eagles aim to take the crown as the Championship’s top team from holders Featherstone Rovers tonight.
A win will give the Eagles their first ever league leader’s shield - a title Rovers have held for the past three seasons. Coach Mark Aston is confident his team can get the three vital points in front of a hostile crowd at the Big Fella’s Stadium, kick-off 7.30pm.
“It’s quite simple win this game after playing 24 and we can cement the league and that’s the only thing that matters at this time,” he said.
“From one to 17 at Featherstone the lads will be highly motivated and will inspire each other.”
Eagles go into the game with a three-point lead but a much inferior points scored difference. A defeat would prolong the title race until the final round of games on Sunday.
Aston added: “It’s lined up to be the best game of the season, there’ll be a big crowd, the locals will be hostile. But we have the players who can handle those sort of games and under pressure in big games will make a name for themselves.”
Eagles will take a late decision on prop forward and captain Mitch Stringer who has been having intensive treatment on a back injury.
Centre Menzie Yere, who with 40 tries is the top scorer across all the divisions, has recovered from an ankle strain and loose-forward Joe Hirst will be recalled against his old club. It’s a crunch game with Eagles beating Rovers in last year’s Grand Final and winning the league game at Don Valley earlier this season.
Since then coach Daryl Powell has moved to Castleford and former GB star Sean Long has come in as Rovers’ team manager.
The big threat will come from half-back and points machine Liam Finn.
Aston said: “We will look at Featherstone and break down how we should play, we have shown we can beat them. We know how important Liam Finn is to them so we are going to have to do a good job on him and the other key players.”