Rugby league: Stringer prepares for life without fellow prop

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Sheffield Eagles new captain Mitch Stringer says it’ll be strange not lining up with fellow prop forward Jack Howieson.

The Eagles game at Keighley Cougars is the first since the club’s longest-serving player Howieson announced his retirement. “Jack and I always sat together in the changing room and had a bit of banter before a game,” said Stringer. “It will be strange not having Jack there.”

Stringer, who also played for Scotland with Howieson, said he will “try and lead the team his way” but added: “Jack has left a big hole.

“We will look after that legacy and do the best for the team. It would be great to repay Jack for his work by getting to another Grand Final this year.”

The Eagles travel to Cougar Park on Sunday (kick-off 3pm) on a “red alert” to bring back three points after losing their last away game.

Coach Mark Aston said: “I have been frank with the lads, they need to put their hands up and start building towards not only the next two league games but Halifax in the Challenge Cup. I have put the lads on a red alert notice that they have to play for 80 minutes.”

The Eagles are in a group of five teams at the top of the Championship that are starting to draw away from the rest with the halfway point in the season approaching. Keighley have only three wins but Aston said: “We can’t afford to underestimate any team.”