It’s no safe ‘Haven for the Eagles as table-toppers look to settle a score

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A visit from mid-table Whitehaven wouldn’t normally set the pulse racing for Sheffield Eagles but it has an extra edge this weekend.

The Cumbrians are one of only two clubs to have inflicted a defeat on the Eagles this season.

“We’ve got a score to settle,” said coach Mark Aston.

“We went to their place on April Fools’ Day, didn’t play well and they got one over on us. The positive was that it gave a few people a wake up call.

“I wasn’t happy with that result or how we played but the lads got the message. As a team we have learned from the Whitehaven game.”

Since going down 30-16, the Eagles have won their last 10 games in league and cup competitions and taken over as leaders of the Championship.

The Eagles have been able to regroup this week after a hectic 10 days in which they played three games.

The pressure showed as they held on for a narrow 20-18 victory at bottom of the league Barrow Raiders last Sunday, after winning at Hunslet the previous Wednesday.

Eagles’ talisman yet again was fullback Quentin Laulu-Togagae, who scored a hat-trick of tries to take his total for the season to 21.

Hooker Andrew Henderson also scored a try but the team had an anxious final five minutes after Barrow came back to within two points.

“The difference between the teams was Q, as easy as that,” added Aston.

“We looked a tired and lethargic sort of team, we didn’t play with any tempo.

“Whitehaven will look at the result and think they can beat us.

“We’re top of the league and everyone wants to come along and knock you off your perch. We have to be strong and get back to the standards we’ve set.”

Haven come to Don Valley on Sunday (kick-off 3pm) after a 22-14 home win on Hunslet. Their dangermen are half-back Jamie Rooney and try-scoring centre Jessie Joe Parker.

Aston has been boosted by the return of prop Liam Higgins at Barrow after a long injury break. He also rested Matt Garside and Dane Straugheir for the trip to Cumbria.

The Eagles have a cheap ticket offer for their Tetley’s Challenge Cup quarter-final game against London Broncos at Don Valley Stadium on Friday 12 July.

Adults will be £8 compared with the normal £15. Over-60s are £5, and Students £3.