SHEFFIELD Eagles’ try-scoring machine is on collision course with the league’s meanest defence in Keighley Cougars.
Attacking flair has plundered 174 points for the Eagles in four games. The Cougars have scored less than half that total but have conceded only a measly 49.
That won’t change coach Mark Aston’s philosophy of playing open attractive rugby but he’ll demand a more controlled approach from his players. “The team is playing how the game should be played. I want them to ask questions, open positions and make decisions,” he said.
“I’m quite happy with how we are playing with ball in hand but we need to play for longer periods. We can score tries but we need to be disciplined and play to the end of sets. Our ball control was poor in the second half at York last weekend; we can’t repeat that at Keighley.”
Cougars won last season’s promotion Grand Final and have had no problems settling into the Championship. They have won two of their four games and gained a losing bonus point from narrow defeats in the others, including a drop goal 13-12 loss to league leaders Halifax.
Player-coach Jason Demetriou has signed former team-mates from his Super League days in half-back Sam Obst (Hull FC) plus from Wakefield prop Michael Korkidas and centre or wing Semi Tadulala. With loose forward Paul March, ex-Eagles’ winger Richie Barnett both from Hunslet and prop Neil Cherryholme from Halifax it’s a squad of proven performers. Eagles must also cope with the slope on the heavy, muddy Cougar Park pitch in Sunday’s game, (2pm.)
Aston will have stand-off Simon Brown back after injury.