Eagles aim for third consecutive Grand Final
By Liam Williams
Sheffield Eagles are hoping to avenge their Kingstone Press Championship play-off defeat by Halifax two weeks ago by booking their place in a third consecutive Championship Grand Final when the sides meet again at The Shay on Thursday (7.00pm).
The defending champions responded to that defeat by recording an impressive 52-16 victory over Dewsbury Rams last weekend to book their re-match against Halifax in front of the Premier Sports cameras and Eagles hooker Andrew Henderson is aiming to set the record straight.
“We are still in it and we are desperate to give a better account of ourselves than the last game against Halifax,” said Henderson.
“The break after the defeat to Halifax gave us the chance to sit down as a team and figure out where we went wrong and focus on finding the clinical form we showed earlier in the season.
“We have had some tough losses towards the end of the season, but I feel that we showed our true colours against Dewsbury and got ourselves back on track.
“That game gave us renewed confidence; we put in a very dominating display, but we know it will be a different game against Halifax.
“They will be fresh and most likely look to hit the ground running but we’re going to be ready for them.”
Despite finishing above Halifax in the league, the Eagles are going into the game as underdogs having suffered a blip to their end of season league form but the 34-year-old believes that puts all the pressure on their opponents.
“This season we set ourselves the target of making it back-to-back successes and to go out there and try to win another Grand Final, and we still want to do that,” he said.
“We are on the back of one of our best seasons ever. It’s just a shame that we haven’t been able to get some silverware in the cabinet yet.
“We’ve been in these situations before and if anything the pressure is on them to live up to the expectation.”
Henderson is confident that his side can keep their domestic season alive for a few more weeks but the most capped player in Scottish Rugby League history is also hoping his season will continue beyond the play-offs and onto a successful World Cup campaign.
“Obviously my aim is to win another Grand Final but I also need to play well to keep myself in contention for a place in the World Cup squad,” he said.
“There is so much competition for places out there so you have to keep pushing yourself and it will be an honour for me to play in the World Cup should I be picked by the coaching staff.”
Tickets for the Kingstone Press Championship play-off, Halifax RLFC v Sheffield Eagles on Thursday September 19 at the Shay Stadium, Halifax (5.00pm) cost £15-£18 for adults, £10-13 for concessions and £5 for juniors. For more information, call the ticket office on 01422 342792
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, followed by the Championship One Play-off Final and Championship Grand Final. 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.