A blast from the past as Eagles return to their Owlerton home

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The forecast is set fine for Sheffield Eagles, as they make a delayed return to their Owlerton Stadium ‘home’ this weekend.

Monsoon weather forced the first game to be postponed, but the Eagles will face Barrow Raiders on Sunday in a confident mood.

The Eagles got their season underway with a strong second half performance in an away win at Swinton Lions, and coach Mark Aston said: “We’ve had a run out and blown a few of the cobwebs off.

“Hopefully we’ll blow a few more off on Sunday.

“It’s a delayed return, but that’s all the more reason to make up for lost time.”

Aston is hoping for a big crowd for the first game back at Owlerton, where the club was launched in 1984 and last played 25 years ago.

“There’s been a lot of interest - people are buzzing about being back at Owlerton,” he said.

“It’s the first game, I’m hoping that people will get behind us, come along and say ‘welcome home’.

Sunday marks a new start for the club following the demolition of Don Valley.

Supporters will be closer to the on-field action and the earlier kick-off time of 2pm offers the chance to enjoy the greyhound stadium’s bars and restaurants, before and after the game.

Barrow Raiders will come to Owlerton more in hope than expectation, as they suffered defeats in their two opening games.

Eagles look to have too much firepower and Aston’s options have been boosted by loan signings from Salford Red Devils - with hooker Gareth Owen joining centre Jon Ford and forward Will Hope last week.

With Joe Hirst needing a knee operation, Michael Knowles has been switched to loose-forward with the brief to make the position his own.

The pitch will come under scrutiny but has had two weeks to recover after pools of standing water forced the postponement of the first round game against Rochdale.

Aston said: “There’s a lot of work been done on the pitch.

“It’s a tight playing area and we’ll have to adjust to that and take advantage of it.”

The delayed start to life at Owlerton could yet work to the Eagles’ advantage, with Aston describing their first half performance away to Swinton as “rusty” before the team tightened up in the final 40 minutes to win 30-16.

A try by winger Scott Turner and goal by Dominic Brambani kept them in touch at 10-6 down at half-time.

Tries from hooker Owen and centre Jon Ford put the Eagles ahead, and Turner added two to complete his hat-trick with Brambani kicking four goals and Patch Walker one.

Aston said: “It was one of those games at the beginning of the season when people were mis-timing and our tackling wasn’t quite there.

“You can do all the training in the world but it’s not like a match.

“I’m a bit disappointed by the performance but we had enough to make sure we got the result.”

Eagles will play amateurs East Leeds in the third round of the Tetley’s Challenge Cup early next month.

It will be the first Challenge Cup at Owlerton since 1988. Doncaster are away to the British Army.