Aston to head-to-head with mentor Kear

Sheffield coach Mark Aston will face his former mentor John Kear when the Eagles face Batley in the Kingstone Press Championship Grand Final on Sunday.

The two men worked side-by-side at Sheffield in the 1990s, most notably in 1998 when Kear coached an Eagles team featuring Aston to victory over Wigan in the Challenge Cup final at Wembley.

On Sunday, the Bulldogs stand in the way of Sheffield becoming the first club to win back-to-back Championship Grand Finals and Aston will be hoping to get the better of opponents who are bidding to become the first side to win the Grand Final from outside the top four.

“It’s definitely a positive for Batley to have John Kear in charge,” said Aston. “In 1998, when we won the Challenge Cup, he managed to get us all as a squad in a really good place and we won the competition.

“Batley have been outstanding this season and John has definitely played a big part in that. They are a good team, in a good place so Sunday will be a fascinating game. We’re just pleased to be in the final.

“We won last year and now we’re looking to become the first side to win the final in back-to-back seasons which brings a certain pressure.

“Of course our experience from finals in the last couple of years will help but it will all come down to it on the day and we’ll have to perform at our best.”

Whilst Kear played a formative role in his career and has been a major influence, Aston believes he has developed his own style of coaching.

“You take a little bit of everything from all the coaches you have played and worked under,” he said.

“I would be lying if I said that I haven’t taken anything from John, but you’ve got to figure how to do things your own way as a coach.

“If you want the best out of your players then you have to know what makes them tick and hopefully I’ll manage to get my squad in the right frame of mind for the game on Sunday.”

The 2013 Kingstone Press Championships Finals Day at Leigh Sports Village on Sunday September 29 features a feast of first class Rugby League action with three matches kicking off with the Rugby League Conference Challenge Trophy Final, Leigh Miners v Wigan St Patricks (11.30am), followed by the Championship One Play-off Final (2.00pm) and Championship Grand Final (4.30pm). Tickets cost from just £15 for adults, £10 for concessions and can be purchased by visiting; www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk or by calling the RFL Ticket Office on 0844 856 1113.

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