Eagles Eye Cup Final
Sheffield Eagles captain Jack Howieson is aiming to avenge the disappointment of last season’s Co-operative Championship Grand Final defeat to Featherstone Rovers by ensuring his side go all the way in the 2012 Northern Rail Cup.
The Eagles welcome last season’s beaten finalists Halifax to the Don Valley Stadium on Friday July 5 (7.30pm) with a place in the final at stake, and Howieson believes this is an opportunity Sheffield cannot afford to pass up.
“It’s brilliant for us to be involved at this stage,” said Howieson. “It’s the furthest we’ve ever been in the competition and we’re delighted to be in the mix.
“We never seem to do very well in the Northern Rail Cup but we really targeted it this season. When we sat down at the start of the year we believed that we can compete with every team in the competition and I think that’s been shown so far.
“We’ve put a lot of points past Featherstone early in the season, but we also has a heavy defeat against Halifax, so it shows that the teams at the top are evenly matched.”
Sheffield knocked Halifax out of the Championship play-offs last season to secure their place in the Grand Final and despite going on to suffer a heavy 40-4 defeat to Featherstone Rovers in the that game, Howieson believes the experience will prove vital when it comes to high-pressure games this season, starting on Friday.
“It was a massive achievement for us to make it to the Grand Final last season,” he said. “It was a big boost for us and despite the result, we came away with a lot of new experiences and we learnt a lot.
“I think you learn more from losing those kind of games than you do from winning. The heartache of getting that far and not being able to take that final step was very tough for the lads and we were all gutted after the match. It’s left a sour taste in our mouths and we want to rectify that with a trophy this season.
“We’ve all grown with the experience but we’re not dwelling on last season too much. As a team we’re focused on the game ahead and we know that on our day we can beat anyone.
“They beat us early in the season but this is a different type of game and we’re both different teams now. That was sort of a freak result for us at the time but we now know what to expect from them and we know they are outstanding on their day.
“We’re just as good when we put it together on the pitch though so it should be a good game.”
Tickets for the Northern Rail Cup semi-final between Sheffield Eagles and Halifax and Don Valley Stadium on Friday July 6 (7.30pm) cost from just £15 adult, £10 concession and £5 junior and can be purchased on the turnstiles on match day.
The Northern Rail Cup Final will be played on Sunday July 29 at Bloomfield Road, Blackpool. Tickets cost from just from just £14 for adults, and £8 for concession and are available by calling 0844 856 1113 or by visiting www.rugbyleaguetickets.co.uk
To keep up to date with all the latest news from the Northern Rail Cup follow @RLChampionships on Twitter.