Places are very much up for grabs is the message coming from Sheffield Eagles’ chief Mark Aston ahead of tomorrow’s clash with Hunslet Hawks at The Keepmoat (4.15pm).
Aston looks set to include new second-row signing Oliver Roberts in his 17 whilst prop Mitchell Stringer is set for his first appearance of the season after recovering from an ankle injury.
With Jamie Langley coming back from injury in last weekend’s Challenge Cup success over Oldham, coupled with the fine performance of young Greg Burns at nine Aston has options all over the field.
Burns is set to compete with Keale Carlile and the returning James Davey at hooker whilst half-back Kyle Briggs is also back in contention after being rested last weekend.
“It is time to start nailing down what our best 17 is and that is very much up for everyone to fight for,” Aston told The Star.
“We are going to need all these guys because we have a tough period of fixtures coming up which includes a tough home draw in the Challenge Cup against Hull FC. We need all hands on deck, everyone battling for a place in the side because competition brings the best out of people
“Greg Burns was excellent last weekend so all of a sudden I have got three hookers all fighting for one or two places which is important. Jamie Langley was back last week which we have been waiting for and we have been boosted with the news that Mitchell Stringer will be back which is fantastic news.”
One player who looks set to miss out is second-rower Duane Straugheir who has tweaked his hamstring whilst there are doubts over Misi Talapappa (groin) and Cory Aston (shoulder).
Struggling Hunslet arrive at the Keepmoat with just two wins from five rounds of the Kingstone Press Championship but Aston is wary of the dual registration agreement with Super League heavyweights Leeds Rhinos which will play a huge part in the Hawks’ team selection.
“It will depend on what dual registration players they get from the Rhinos because they are always a better side when they get them,” added Aston.
“If they don’t have them at their disposal then they still have a sizeable squad with plenty of people who can play the game. They have Jack Lee at 9 who is a real threat, Andy Kane at half-back and we all know about the likes of Simon Brown who played with us for a number of years.”