Sheffield Eagles’ coach Mark Aston isn’t worried by his team’s low-key preparation for the new season and the cancellation of the club’s only warm-up game.
The Eagles were due to end a three-day training trip to south-west France with a friendly against Limoux but the Elite League club’s pitch was waterlogged.
It’s a marked contrast to their rivals who have played two or three friendlies in the past month.
“I have never been a big ‘friendly’ man,” he said.
“We are going to play a lot of games in the league so why play more games?
“This is a summer game but yet we start on January 31. We have to look after the players, they are part-timers and their well being is paramount to me.”
He added: “I’m disappointed that we didn’t play Limoux but the squad had three days of intensive training – it was like being a Super League club.
“It worked out well and we’ll be ready.”
The Co-operative 2013 Championship was officially launched by representatives of all the clubs in Sheffield today.
The league has been increased to 14 teams with the four new clubs including Doncaster who won the Championship One title last year.
It adds extra pressure on the Eagles as they bid to defend the Championship title they won last year after battling through the play-offs following a fourth place finish in the league.
Aston is confident that with five new players the squad is well set up to reach the Grand Final again.
“It was no one-off, we got to the semi-final three years ago, the final the next year and got beat, last year we won the final – that’s not a fluke,” he said.
The Eagles season starts at Halifax in a weeks time, and they play their first home game against Batley at Don Valley Stadium on Friday February 9.
2013 Eagles squad numbers: 1 Quentin Lalu-Togagae, 2 Scott Turner, 3 Menzie Yere, 4 Tom Armstrong, 5 Misi-Taulapapa, 6 Patch Walker, 7 Dominic Brambani, 8 Jack Howieson (capt), 9 Andrew Henderson, 10 Mitch Stringer, 11 Michael Knowles, 12 Peter Green, 13 Joe Hirst, 14 James Davey, 15 Alex Szostak, 16 Duane Straugheir, 17 Liam Higgins, 18 Nev Morrison, 19 Vinny Finigan, 20 Pat Smith, 21 Matt Garside, 22 Colton Roche, 23 Dane McDonald.
Elite squad: 26 Leigh Sanders, 27 Connor Scott, 28 Sam Williamson, 29 Corey Hanson, 30 Tom Ashton.