Sheffield Eagles director of rugby Mark Aston has mixed feelings about the upcoming Summer Bash showdown with London Broncos tomorrow.
The Championship is following the model set by the Super League’s Magic Weekend, with all 12 clubs competing over two days at Blackpool FC’s Bloomfield Road stadium.
The Summer Bash fixtures will count as an extra league game which means that the Eagles will have played London three times in the regular season, something that doesn’t sit well with Aston.
“Some people like it, some people don’t,” a philosophical Aston told the Star.
“Is it fair to some teams, probably not because we are playing one of the top teams and some of the others aren’t.
“I would rather have a weekend off if I am honest because the boys have to play in a lot of games, and this is an extra fixture.
“That said we will support it, and if it gets the fans together and it is a great atmosphere, like the Magic Weekend, then it will be great for the competition.”
Whilst the Eagles chief may question the fairness of the event what isn’t in doubt is the popularity with TV broadcasters. The two day bumper show will be broadcast live on Sky Sports, and that is something that Aston admits can only be beneficial for Championship rugby league.
“The Sky coverage is important to everyone to try and attract sponsorship and for branding purposes,” Aston admitted.
“The Sky coverage certainly helps in promoting the Championship, but we have a job to do, we want to go in get a win and get out again.”
Aston’s side will take confidence from their convincing victory over the Broncos earlier in the season and from their narrow success over Dewsbury Rams on Tuesday night.
London, with former Sheffield favourite Andrew Henderson in the hot-seat, are eight points behind the Eagles in the table, and a defeat would severely dent their chances of gatecrashing the top four.
The Eagles will be without Pat Walker who Aston confirmed is around a month away from a return after suffering a broken toe in the recent game with Bradford Bulls.
Jamie Langley and Cory Aston will both be back in contention after being left out of Tuesday’s success over Dewsbury, whilst Michael Knowles is expected to shake off a knock to keep his place in the side.