IT’S off on the road for Sheffield Eagles as they face two away games that will test their credentials as a top six team.
Three straight wins – two at Bramall Lane – have put the Eagles into fourth place in the Championship. Ahead are trips to Dewsbury Rams and Batley Bulldogs. The switch to playing at Sheffield United’s stadium means the Eagles face blocks of away games but they coped well last year with five of their 10 wins coming on the road.
Coach Mark Aston said: “You just have to treat it as a different bit of grass and play to our strengths. There’s no worries about being away, as long as we keep doing the little things right we’ll give a good account.”
Dewsbury go into Sunday’s game (kick-off 3pm) on the back of a 38-22 win that put holders Batley Bulldogs out of the Northern Rail Cup.
The big performance for the Rams came from former Eagles’ half-back Dominic Brambani. His kicking in open play was the dominant factor and he added five conversions and four penalties.
“Dom’s playing very well, his kicking game is outstanding but we’ve known that for a long time,” said Aston. “Dewsbury are a dogged team and they’ll be confident after beating Batley.
“We’re determined to take each game as it comes – we’ll keep the focus on the next game and we want a performance that’s up to the standards we’ve set.”
The Eagles were not involved in the weekend’s Rail Cup games and the extra week’s rest should mean a fully fit squad. Prop Jack Howieson and winger Danny Mills who both missed the win over Halifax are back in training.
Aston’s decision on the final 17 will depend on the availability of his four dual registration loan players from Super League clubs. Only half-back Kyle Wood was involved in a game last weekend, playing for Huddersfield Giants’ reserves in their defeat by Warrington Wolves reserves.
Meanwhile Jamie Cottle and Pat Smith, who have played in the Eagles first team this season, helped Sheffield Hallam to a 44-6 win over Sheffield University in the annual Varsity game.
Hallam led 22-0 at half-time with tries from Mike Farrell, Chris Palmer, Matthew Brocksom and Smith. In the final 40 minutes Cottle, James Musonda, Sam Blaney and Josh Naylor added tries with Lee Sanders kicking six goals.