Usual routine and meal in underdogs’ bid to put silverware on menu
MARK Aston is determined to keep the final hours before Sheffield Eagles appearance in their first Grand Final tomorrow low-key.
“We just want to rock up and do the job,” said the Eagles coach of the clash with Featherstone Rovers. “We’re keeping it low-key. It’s another game for us - that’s the way we will do it.
“We’re not doing a great deal different. We’ll stop for lunch at a hotel and it’s not beans on toast - the lads will have chicken and pasta as we did before the semi-final.”
Even a mention of the Eagles’ greatest day when they beat Wigan Warriors in the 1998 Challenge Cup final is banned.
“I won’t be mentioning Wembley in 1998. I just want the lads to concentrate on what they have been doing in the last month.
“ Nobody expects us to win - but they didn’t expect us to win last week in the semi at Leigh.”
If Eagles win the Grand Final the players will share half of the £50,000 prize money but they go to the Halliwell Jones Stadium, Warrington, as massive underdogs.
Aston said: “The club said from the start of the play-offs that we would go a 50-50 split on the prize money with the players - they have earned it.”
Featherstone, coached by former Sheffield star Daryl Powell, beat the Eagles home and away as they finished top of the league, losing only one game.
Eagles’ preparation haven’t been helped by the loss of centre Menzie Yere who failed in his bid to have his two-match ban lifted on appeal this week.
Norfolk Park teenager Corey Hanson is set to come into the centres with
the final place in the 17 between back Jonny Woodcock and forward Alex Rowe who hasn’t played for two months since breaking an arm.
Aston said: “We wanted Menzie in the team but if it isn’t to be, fine.
“We’ve won two play-off games without him.
“We have options. Corey could come in, Jonny Woodcock is ready. Alex Rowe is back training and tells me he’s fit - do we throw him in or go with the lads who have got us through the play-offs?”
Misi Taulauapa will play his last game for the Eagles
and he plans to leave with a winner’s medal.
“I’m excited, it’s the reality of playing in a Grand Final in my last game,” said the Samoan international who joins Super League club Hull KR next week.
“The last month we’ve been on a high and playing our best rugby of the season.
“Now it’s come down to the last game and it’s about belief - we know we can win.”
Taulapapa has played 42 games, scoring 18 tries, since signing from Cronulla in Australia two years ago.
n Eagles squad: Laulu-Togagae; Finigan, Taulapapa, Hanson, Bergin; McDonald, Brown; Howieson, Henderson, Stringer, Szostak, Green, Hirst, Woodcock, Smith, Scott, Hepworth, Battye, Rowe.
n Tomorrow’s game is being screened live on Sky Sports 3. Kick-off is 4pm.