Kingstone Press Championship Preview: Sheffield Eagles v Whitehaven

Sheffield Eagles’ 40-12 victory over Batley Bulldogs wasn’t as straightforward as the score line suggests.

Coach Mark Aston said: “Batley’s a tough place to go, they’ve got some big men and when they get a roll on they’re pretty tough to handle.

“We had it tough in that first 40 minutes but again the pleasing thing for us as a coaching staff was that we never looked fazed by it. They were 12 points up and we found a way back into the game.

“We wanted to start the second half with high intensity and at a high tempo and we did. In the first 10 to 15 minutes we blew them away, which was a replication of the week before against Hunslet.

“We’ve got Whitehaven this week. I’ve watched them, they’ve got some good players. They re-signed Dave Allen, which is a massive coup for them. Having coached him with Ireland in the World Cup, I believe he could still be playing in Super League.

“They’ve also got Richie Beaumont, who is another big strong player, then there’s Jesse Joe Parker and the two Catalans players they’ve brought in.

“They’ve got danger, they’ve got pace and a bit of size as well. We had a tough game in Cumbria, albeit the conditions weren’t great, and we’re expecting no different this week.

“But it’s about us and keeping the points’ gap (between us and the next team). If we win it’s going to be six points with six games to go.”

Prop Tony Tonks, who pulled out in the warm up before last week’s game, could be fit for this week’s game.

Whitehaven beat Hunslet 28-12 and coach James Coyle said: “It was a good win last week. It’s been coming but important we got it.”

On the challenge of Sheffield Eagles he said: “Obviously they’re a good side with some good players and about 10 of full-time lads in there so they’re going to be fit and tough to play against.

“We just need to stick to our guns and try to get into an arm wrestle, ask a few questions and see if they can answer them.”

Prop Stephen Fox is likely to be out for about for a month with an ankle injury.

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