Sheffield look to make history

Sheffield can make history on Sunday, by becoming the first team to win consecutive Championship Grand Finals.

The Eagles take on Batley, playing in their first Grand Final, at Leigh Sports Village, and enter the game as favourites.

Back-rower Michael Knowles said: “I wouldn’t say there’s extra pressure on us because we’re not looking at ourselves as favourites.

“If you look at the results of the two teams, Batley are coming into the game with better form, so we won’t be taking them lightly.

“Form certainly counts for something. It always helps if you can be going into these games with confidence and we are, especially on the back of a great result against Halifax but this is a one-off match.

“We’ll both be raising our game, but it tends to come down to who plays best over the 80 minutes.

“We’ve beaten them both times this season, so you can say that it gives us a bit of a boost mentally, but when you look at the score for both games there wasn’t much in it and we’re expecting another tight game on Sunday.”

Batley themselves have made history on their run to the Grand Final, recording Golden Point victories in successive rounds against Leigh (15-14) and Featherstone (21-20).

But Sheffield, who lost in the final of this year’s Northern Rail Cup, are now in their third consecutive Grand Final, and will be looking to use that experience.

Knowles added: “We’ve got some big players who’ve played in these big games, and it’s nice to have that experience on your side, to have people who’ve been there and done it before,” he said.

“The mood’s great at the moment. We’ve got that feeling back from the start of the season that something special is happening within the club.

“It’ll mean loads to us to win. Everyone knows the history of this club, so it’d be fantastic to win two on the bounce which no one’s ever done before.

“It would be a great reward for Mark Aston too, who played a massive part in rebuilding the club, so hopefully we can do what we did last season and win it again and celebrate another success.”

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