29th June 2017, 15:50 | championship

Kingstone Press Championship: Round 20 Preview

Kingstone Press Championship: Round 20 Preview

Sheffield Eagles v Swinton Lions - Sunday 2nd July (3.00pm)

Last weekend, Sheffield Eagles suffered a 18-40 defeat against Hull KR. Despite the result, Coach Mark Aston felt the positives outweighed the negatives, he said, “There were certainly some positives, after coming off the back of a heavy loss the week before we needed to regroup and get a bit more pride back in ourselves and I thought we did that.

“There was an 100% improvement, our attitude, our body language was a lot better and we competed.

“We had a dig and I thought the weeks before at times we put up the white flag and I told the players that so we put a couple of changes in, Jake Spedding came in and Greg Richards from St. Helens through the dual registration and certainly added something to us.”

Ahead of the weekend’s game, Ashton continued “I’m very edgy about Swinton, they’re a quality team and they had a great result against Halifax last week and I’ve said for two years they play the best brand of football in this competition.

“In both our games so far we have been in control of the game until the last ten minutes and they have pulled it right back and got very close to us, they did that at the Summer Bash and they did it when we played them away.

“They have got some quality young players that have come out of a good system so they are always going to be a threat, I’ll be very mindful that we have to be on this game to make sure we get this result.

“We aren’t safe yet we’re on 16 points with four games to go, so we need a couple more wins from these next four games and if we get that we can sleep a little bit better”

In Round 19, Swinton Lions returned to winning ways after edging a crucial 13-12 win againstfifth placed Halifax RLFC. Coach John Duffy said “The lads were magnificent especially off the back of the midweek game at Featherstone which was really tough for us.

“We looked really fit and we stuck to our game plan for big parts of the game and got a great win.

“Every win is important for us at the minute because of our league standing.  It was massive for us and the boys gained some confidence from that game because Halifax are a really good team and obviously looking for that top four spot.”

Sheffield clearly pose a threat that Duffy is wary of, as he added “They have been our bogey team this year and there is no revenge tactics, it’s just that we have to change the way we play against them because what we’ve done in the past hasn’t worked.

“We will come up with a really good, simple game plan tonight and go to Wakefield which is a real big, good pitch which will suit the way we play so hopefully we can go up there and perform and back up last weekend.

“The way they have been playing I think they will try to get back on the horse and get a win against us.”

Swinton sit in ninth as Duffy continued, “Every game is a must win now, we play the teams around us in the next few weeks and with no disrespect to them hopefully we can pick up some points and try and go into these last seven games with some confidence.”

Hull Kingston Rovers have the opportunity to secure first place and the Kingstone Press Championship League Leaders' Shield when they face second placed London Broncos, who remain hot on their tails and are currently unbeaten in ten games.

Featherstone Rovers welcome Batley Bulldogs to the LD Nutrition Stadium in a game where they need the two points to all but affirm their top four status.

After a narrow loss to Swinton last weekend, Halifax RLFC play Bradford Bulls, as they push for a top four spot.

Oldham RLFC must overturn the odds to combat Toulouse Olympique XIII to get their first win in eight games and attempt to prevent the French outfit from returning to winning ways.

Dewsbury Rams will host Rochdale Hornets in a clash at the bottom end of the table, with both placed 11th and eighth respectively.

All fixtures will kick-off Sunday, July 2 at 3pm.