End of an era as Eagles prepare for their last league game at Don Valley - but there’s no room for sentiment, insists Aston

editorial image
0
Have your say

There will be no room for sentiment tonight as Sheffield Eagles play their last ever league game at the doomed Don Valley Stadium.

A win over relegation-threatened Hunslet Hawks will set up a Championship title decider at Featherstone Rovers in six days time.

Rovers also play tonight and if both clubs record victories, the Eagles will take a three-point advantage into the crunch meeting.

A win at Featherstone would give the Eagles the league leader’s shield, but other results would prolong the decision to the last round of games with Rovers having a much superior points difference.

“It’s building up quite nicely now for the game against Featherstone, but we’ve got a job to do against Hunslet first,” said coach Mark Aston.

“Rovers will be working towards the game at their place. They have to beat us, because if all goes to plan we can take the title by winning that game.”

Hunslet will be desperate to create an upset, after clawing their way out of the drop zone by winning their last two games. Eagles recorded their 15th straight win in the league at Dewsbury Rams, but Aston is set to shake up the team.

He has options, with hooker Andrew Henderson, winger Scott Turner, Duane Straugheir and Matt Garside fit again after injury.

“I’ve got to make the right choice ahead of the Featherstone game,” said Aston.

“It’ll be interesting because I have to be accountable for any changes – just as I ask the players to be accountable for their actions.”

There is certainly a case for changes after a lacklustre 30-18 win at Dewsbury Rams.

Tries from Menzie Yere, Joe Hirst and Peter Green saw the Eagles comfortable at 18-2 at half-time.

But Dewsbury were allowed back into the game and outscored the Eagles by three tries to two in the final 40 minutes.

Vinny Finigan and teenager Cory Aston scored the Eagles tries, and Dominic Brambani’s five goals broke Aston’s own record of points scored in a season.

Aston said: “We got the win which was important but it was scruffy, messy and slow. I wasn’t happy with some people and they have been told.”

The curtain doesn’t come down on Don Valley tonight with the Eagles Championship play-off games at the stadium next month.

The club’s first game at the stadium was a 34-6 win over Wakefield Trinity on Wednesday 26 September 1990, watched by a crowd of 7,984. Only 4,000 paid, though, because of turnstile problems at the partly completed stadium.