Aston looking forward to Doncaster test
Eagles chief Mark Aston is excited for the next two weeks as his side take on Doncaster and Keighley Cougars respectively in pre-season friendlies.
It will be the first meeting between the Dons and Eagles since the 1895 Cup quarter-final, which Sheffield snatched away from their lower-league opposition in the dying seconds.
This Sunday at the Keepmoat Stadium will be a calmer environment for Aston, as he looks to see how his team, in particular some of the new faces, are shaping up ahead of the 2020 Championship season.
"It’s a pre-season friendly to see where we’re at as a squad,”
“We have changed a bit (of personnel in the off-season) and there’s still people like James Glover and Matt James missing.
“We’ll have Brad Knowles out due to suspension so some of the young lads will show us where they’re at.
“It won’t be vintage but what I am wanting to find out is where we are with our fitness, with how I want them to play this year and also individually - the new players have to stand up.”
“You have the likes of Wardy (Robbie Ward) who has come in and will compete for the hooking role.
“We have Frankie Mariano, who has had a couple of years where injuries have prevented him from playing the amount of games he would have liked.
“But what a great kid he is. He has come in, worked really hard and he talks well.”
“Izaac Farrell joined us and he was a bit too hefty for me.
“He’s taken nearly a stone off and that is great because I’ve challenged him to get down to the weight where I think he can play his best rugby.
“The ability he has is clear and it’s an exciting time for him.
“There is a nice balance and the lads are hard-working with an attitude to improve.
“We have enjoyed pre-season and we’re going to enjoy the friendlies and learn a lot about each other.”
By Dan Fowler, photo by Alex Coleman