It will take a brave calculation to try and predict an outcome when two of the Kingstone Press Championship’s most unpredictable sides meet this Sunday.
Sheffield Eagles and Swinton Lions have shown their best and worst in what has been a season of ups and downs for both, but there is no doubting the importance of this fixture as the season enters the business end.
Swinton have had the highs of beating Super League side Huddersfield in the Challenge Cup, but they have also endured an eight game winless run the league earlier in the campaign.
The Eagles who at the their best have downed high-flying London and Toulouse this season, have hit a new low by shipping 164 points in defeats to Halifax, Batley and Hull KR in their last three outings.
The Eagles showed signs of a resurgence in the second half last weekend, and coach Mark Aston hopes their rollercoaster campaign is back on an upward curve as he prepares for the visit of John Duffy’s side.
“We showed some character in the second half last weekend,” Aston told The Star.
“We got to grips with things at times, and we won the second half against Hull KR, we just need to find that consistency over a longer period. I have said it all season.”
Swinton come into the game after a victory over top-four chasing Halifax, and Aston is fully aware of their attacking prowess which ran his side close during the Eagles’ two victories over the Lions this season.
“You can never write Swinton off,” Aston warned.
“They have just beaten Halifax which shows what they can do on their day. We were good for 60 to 70 minutes when we played them last time at the Summer Bash. They made a good start, but we came back at them and wrestled the game away and got ourselves into a nice lead. They are never finished though, they can score points from anywhere.
“John Duffy has done a great job, they have looked at the market of players coming out of Super League who have got potential and that is bearing fruit because they can play. For me they play the best brand of football in the Championship, but what lets them down at times is the defensive side. They must have got that right though because last week they let in minimal points.”