Sheffield Eagles can take a short cut to retaining the Championship Grand Final trophy if they beat Halifax tonight.
Victory will book a place in the semi-finals but defeat would condemn the Eagles to an extra sudden death round. Coach Mark Aston is determined to avoid the long route and aims to extend the Eagles unbeaten home record into the play-offs at Don Valley tonight, (7.30pm.)
“We’re immensely proud of how we’ve gone about our business this season” he said. “We’ve had a lot of games but we’ve freshened things up and this is the play-offs and we’re hardened to this, we’re at home.””
Eagles have made a third successive Grand Final their priority and aim to be the first club to retain the Champions title.
Aston said: “Halifax are a big, powerful team, they will try to bully us and go through us. We have to get back to our standards, we’re a quality team and I’ve told the lads to go out and show that.”
Stand-off Patch Walker is expected to return following an ankle injury provided there is no reaction.
Halifax have also had problems at half-back with Anthony Thackeray out and veteran Paul Handforth partnering Scott Murrell.
Winger Scott Turner could be recalled if Vinny Finigan doesn’t recover from a back strain. Misi Taulapapa, Colton Roche and Duane Straigheir also face fitness checks.
Aston said: “Having Patch back is a bonus but there are a few lads busted up and there could be changes.”