Aston’s Eagles look to ‘pitch’ in

Rugby League coverage in The Star
Rugby League coverage in The Star

Mark Aston’s team selection is likely to be influenced by the pitch conditions when the Eagles travel to Workington Town.

A light-weight squad built for speedy play - and with only one forward on the bench - put in the Eagles’ best 40 minutes of the season in the 52-20 win against Swinton Lions.

That was achieved in almost perfect early season playing conditions at the Leigh Sports Village

It’ll be a different story at Workington’s venerable Derwent Park ground where the ‘going’ is set to be on the heavy to muddy side on Sunday (kick-off 3pm).

That’s likely to see changes to a 17 that face Swinton, with Aston beefing up the substitutes bench.

“Town will be strong, when you get on that bus and go up to Workington you know what you are going to get – it’ll be a small pitch and it’ll be heavy,” said Aston.

“They go out to intimidate you, they are big and strong and they try to knock you about.

“We have to try and play with the intensity we had in the second half at Swinton but we’ve got to do it from minute one.”

Bustling prop Liam Higgins could earn a recall and centre Menzie Yere’s raw tackling power may get him a reprieve after being substituted following 60 indifferent minutes against Swinton.

Aston’s team selection against the Lions has opened up the options.

New signing half-back Patch Walker was given a watch and learning brief to study the Eagles style from the stands.

His replacement, Pat Smith, and the rest of the team struggled in the first half but clicked into attacking style, running in eight tries in the final 40 minutes.

Tries from back rower Michael Knowles and centre Tom Armstrong, playing against his old club, put the Eagles ahead with skipper Jack Howieson and hooker Andrew Henderston pushing the lead out.

Swinton managed a breakaway score but centre Matt Garside crossed the line on his debut.

Dominic Brambani adding to his first half try and a second for Armstrong with Smith scoring in the final minute sealed the win. Brambani kicked eight of the goals.

Winger Scott Turner is out after picking up an ankle injury on his return to the team.

Aston said: “The pitch was good and we went for quick plays and it worked in the second half.

“Workington is a different challenge but I’m delighted that we have built up some momentum and I want to keep that going.”