SHEFFIELD Eagles don’t have any option but to keep winning from now on – or the curtain falls on their season.
The league season finished on a high with a 52-18 win over York Knights but tomorrow it’s straight in to the ‘sudden death’ of the Championship play-offs.
The win over York earned the Eagles a fourth place finish in the league and the advantage of playing at home in the first elimination round.
Widnes Vikings will come to Bramall Lane tomorrow night (kick-off 7.45pm) after finishing one point behind the Eagles.
“You don’t get second chances – play-off rugby is special,” said coach Mark Aston. “The big thing is that we’ve playing at Bramall Lane against Widnes – it’ll be a cracker.”
Ten tries were scored against York as the Eagles produced fast attacking rugby to outflank a sluggish Knights’ defence.
Widnes – even with their mind on the move to the Super League next season – will be a different proposition.
The Eagles lost both their games against Widnes this season – 44-16 and 38-24 – and have not beaten the Vikings in the five seasons since they won promotion to the Championship.
Aston said: “Last season we finished sixth in the league and made the play-off semi-finals. This time around we’re in fourth – that shows progress. Now we’re into the play-offs and we want to go one better and make the Grand Final.
“Some of the tries we scored against York were outstanding and I’ve always said these lads can play. But we need to be more consistent and if we do we can go places in the play-offs.”
He added: “We haven’t performed against the top teams this season but in the play-offs win three games and you’re in the final – that’s great motivation.”
Centre Menzie Yere – who scored a hat-trick of tries against York - will miss the Widnes game after he was suspended for two games. The Papua New Guinea star was found guilty by an RFL disciplinary committee of a head shot tackle in the game against Featherstone last month.
Half-back Simon Brown is a major injury doubt with a leg injury and the loss of his kicking game will be a major headache for Aston. Misi Taulapapa, in his last home game before he joins Hull KR is set to continue at centre.
Supporters have to pay ‘on the gate’ for tomorrow’s play-off game but Eagles and Sheffield United junior season ticket holders get free entry on production of their season ticket.