Battle begins for Super League spot

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SHEFFIELD Eagles are going all out to drive their crowds up this season to ensure they can challenge for a place in the Super League.

They have to attract average attendances of at least 2,500 – double last year’s figure – to meet the criteria to join rugby league’s top flight from 2015. Coach Mark Aston, who was a player when the club dropped out of the Super League in 1999, said: “We can bring Super League back to Sheffield. I remember the days when we had 6,000 people here, those fans are still out there, we just need to re-engage with them. Why wouldn’t you want the best level of rugby league in the city? We know what it would bring to the city. If we were playing Leeds Rhinos you would get five or six thousand coming here. They will spend money in Meadowhall and in the city.”

The Eagles have launched a poster campaign in council sports centres across the city as the new Championship season kick-offs against Swinton Lions, at Don Valley Stadium, on Sunday. Success on the field, with the team reaching their first Grand Final last year, has season ticket sales running at 15 per cent higher that in 2011.