Thursday 31st January 2013  The Shay  Kick Off: 19:30:00

Halifax RLFC Squad

Sheffield Eagles Squad

Match Preview

Harrison excited for kick-off

Halifax coach Karl Harrison insists his squad is ready for Thursday's Championship kick off against champions Sheffield.

Fax host last year's Grand Final winners seven days after drawing 18-18 with Batley in their last pre-season friendly.

Harrison said: "It's a big challenge. It's the first game of the season and both teams will be ready and up for it.

"We've been weather affected and we're maybe a bit behind where we'd like to be, but we're looking forward to getting going now. We've trained ever so well this week."

On Sheffield, Harrison added: "They've had a stable squad for the last few years, built on a big forward pack and few Islanders who can make things happen.

"They're a very dangerous team, both in the middle and on the fringe, and we'll be tested defensively right across our line."

Long-term injury absentees Mick Nanyn and Iain Morrison are Harrison's only unavailable players.

Eagles travel without Joe Hirst (broken hand), but could include Quentin Laulu-Togagae, who has made a quick recovery from knee surgery last month.

Sheffield coach Mark Aston said: "We planted the flag last year and now it's time to back it up. It's going to be tough, because there are a lot of quality teams and there are more games. There'll be a lot of teams trying to knock you off.

"We enjoyed winning the Grand Final and pre-season has been great, but it's back to business now."