Sheffield Eagles players are “ready for another massive challenge” as they gear up for the Northern Rail Cup final.
The squad faces their second major Cup game in eight days when they face Leigh Centurions.
Coach Mark Aston says there’s no hangover from the defeat by Super League side London Broncos in the Challenge Cup quarter-final, last Friday.
“We have to pick it up and prepare correctly” he said. “We’ve been beaten by London but we’ll rise the lads back up, it’s another massive challenge.
“It’s not really a problem for the lads, this is another big game and that’s where they want to be. We competed well defensively against London and can take a lot of confidence from that. A couple of the lads were disappointed by their performances but as a group they show they can compete with a Super League side.”
The defeat by London ended a run of 15 straight wins for the Eagles stretching back to April 1.
Aston added: “At some stage you do get beaten but it’s how you respond to that. This is a great group of players who have achieved a lot this year. We have to keep the belief and the composure – we are a quality team.”
The Eagles will be playing in their first Rail Cup final when the teams meet at the Shay, Halifax, on Saturday.
Meanwhile Aston has paid a tribute to prop forward Mitch Stringer who has agreed a new contract that will keep him at the club for the next three years. Stringer, 29, is approaching 250 games for Eagles and took over as club captain when Jack Howieson retired.
“Mitch has been fantastic. He’s in the best shape of his life” said Aston. “When Jack left, Mitch stepped up to the captain’s role and has helped fill some pretty big shoes. I can’t underestimate what an all-round professional Mitch is, both on and off the field and the club, including the community work he does around the region for us.”