SHEFFIELD Eagles’ boss Mark Aston has the kind of selection headache coaches want ahead of the top of the table clash with Keighley Cougars.
Aston has to change a winning team to bring back half-back Simon Brown from injury but he’s plenty of options. He’s likely to ‘stay big’ with a forward dominated bench for the trip to Cougar Park on Sunday, kick-off 2pm.
But if utility man Dane McDonald rejoins the subs after standing in for Brown one of the forwards still has to drop out.
“We might change a few things, go a different way off the bench. We need to evaluate the game and decide,” said Aston. “We need to decide who we put on the bench. Simon Brown will be back fit and we have to decide if he comes straight back in – those decisions will be taken later this week.”
It could be a straight choice between props Alex Rowe, who had only two short spells in the win at York and the solid power of Ryan Hepworth.
Back row forward Joe Hirst went off in the second half at York with an ankle injury but is expected to be fit. Aston needs to send out a squad that can match the power of Keighley’s pack that includes new signings Michael Korkidas from Wakefield and Neil Cherryholme from Halifax.
The Challenge Cup fourth round win at York produced a better defensive performance but Aston was disappointed by poor ball control in the second half and York scoring two tries.
Former Bradford and Castleford hooker Aaron Smith, who joined the Eagles at the start of the season has called time on his attempted comeback after two years out of the game. Aston said: “Aaron has been really committed but he’s picked up a few injuries and he’s had a job offer. It’s been a hard decision but we wish him well.”
Castleford’s Rangi Chase has been banned for three matches for the challenge that broke former Eagles centre Tangi Ropati’s jaw during the Challenge Cup defeat by Featherstone.