Eagles look on the bright side of life

Eagles Jack Howieson leads out the teams in his testiomial game at Don Valley Stadium
Eagles Jack Howieson leads out the teams in his testiomial game at Don Valley Stadium

PLAYERS and coaches are determined to take some ‘positives’ from any result – no matter how uneven the performance.

Sheffield Eagles’ visit to Leigh Centurions ended in defeat and was marked by errors and sloppy play but there were positives.

After two big defeats by the Lancashire club in cup and league earlier in the season the Eagles didn’t let the game run away from them and earned the consolation of a losing bonus point.

That keeps the Eagles in fifth spot as the battle for a top-six finish and a place in the end of season play-offs gets tighter.

Long term it may not be seen as a poor result as the Eagles started a run of four straight away games.

A flurry of late points narrowed the final margin to 34-22 after a string of errors had gifted Leigh tries but captain Jack Howieson was quick to admit it shouldn’t have come to that.

“We let in too many soft tries, one an interception and one from a charge down and two straight hit ups,” he said. “We have a decent squad and we are always confident we can win but this season we have too often not hit our straps and that’s not good enough. We have to tighten up and get back to the standards we set ourselves.”

The team’s determination to clean up their act will be tested tonight at Featherstone Rovers – who with Leigh share top spot in the Championship.

The Eagles go into the game struggling with a string of injuries picked up at Leigh and doubts over the availability of loan players who could fill the gaps.

Rovers, coached by Eagles’ legend Daryl Powell, have lost only one Championship game this season and have the advantage of a seven-day break since their last game.

Last season the Eagles were one of only two teams to win in the league at Featherstone but the swift turnaround means the odds will be stacked against them.

Howieson said: “It’ll be tough but the idea is to show that we didn’t play to our best at Leigh. The spirit is good in the squad. We have to cut the silly mistakes out and play to our potential and we can come back.”

London-based Harlequins RL, coached by Sheffield-born Rod Powell, have been awarded a new licence to play in the Super League for the three seasons from 2012.

Wakefield Wildcats, who had been widely tipped to be axed, survive after financially troubled Welsh club Crusaders decided to drop out of the league. Wildcats are coached by former Eagles boss John Kear.