Sheffield Eagles director of rugby Mark Aston is expecting a high-scoring contest for tonight’s visit of Bradford Bulls.
Eagles face a test of character after defeat to Workington last weekend, whilst Rohan Smith’s Bulls crushed Swinton Lions.
Smith will take charge of Bradford for the first time at Hallam University Sports Park, after watching his new side put 54 pts on the board last weekend.
Aston responded to the Workington defeat by switching the captaincy from Mitch Stringer to Aussie front-rower Steve Thorpe.
Vice-captain Michael Knowles has also been replaced by Quentin Laulu-Togagae.
“It has been a quick turnaround,” Aston said. “The game could go either way. It was 46-28 last time and both sides were not great defensively and it may be something similar. Bradford will be big and strong. It will be a full house and there will be plenty of noise. Both teams are struggling defensively and it could be a high scoring affair once again.”
A major factor in the Eagles’ success against Bradford earlier in the season was winger Garry Lo. The PNG ace bagged an 80 metre try in what was the Eagles’ best result of a largely disappointing campaign. After suffering an injury in the same game, Lo returned to action last week to score twice in the defeat to Workington.
Aston was delighted with Lo’s performance and is looking for a repeat display tonight.
“He’s a danger. He’s a quality player, no doubt about that,” Aston said of the 22-year-old.
“We need him to play games for us and we got him through the full 80 minutes, for the first time this season. It was good for him personally and for him, to get a double was very pleasing.”
Since the sensational victory at Odsal, the Eagles have won just one of their next five games in all competitions.
Following tonight’s encounter, Aston’s side face second-placed London Broncos at Blackpool’s Bloomfield Road in a repeat of last season’s Summer Bash encounter.