Sheffield Eagles will be hoping to mark their landmark 1,000th fixture by rubber stamping their position in the middle eights.
Eagles host Featherstone Rovers on Sunday (4.15pm), knowing if they avoid defeat they will assured of a shot at re-claiming a place in Super League at the end of season promotion showdown. It’s been a long road for Eagles since their first ever fixture against Rochdale Hornets in 1984. At the heart of the vast majority of their 999 games so far is former player, and current Director of Rugby, Mark Aston, who will be hoping his side can cap their milestone game by confirming their place in the top four of the Championship.
“It’s a massive game” he said. “We’re at the business end of the season and we’re fighting hard to get the point to secure a top four finish. We’ve got two performances left in this league structure. I’ve challenged the boys to win and then we can go into the middle eights with plenty of confidence. The group set themselves objectives to get in the top four. We are third, two points clear and it’s in our hands. We just needed that win last week and we got it.”
Featherstone Rovers will be looking to spoil the Eagles’ party, knowing that they must win to stand any chance of gatecrashing the top four. They sit in fifth position, four points behind Aston’s and with a 10 point deficit to make up should the season go down to points difference.
“The players from 1 to 17 stood out last week, they all were great,” added Aston.
“We talked about individual responsibility and accountability and I challenged the team ethos at this club. I challenged them and the players responded with a positive performance and Featherstone cannot come around quick enough for us.”
Eagles will be marking the occasion with special one off T-shirts, which will be available for purchase after the game.
Meanwhile, Eagles’ centre Loto Tagaloa has joined Doncaster on loan until the end of the season.