Championship play-offs: Week two preview

After an action-packed first week of the play-offs in the Kingstone Press Championship, week two sees two local derbies, with four teams battling to save their season.

There is a South Yorkshire derby at the Keepmoat Stadium, as fourth-placed Doncaster look to defeat local rivals – and last year’s champions – Sheffield Eagles, in what is set to be a thrilling encounter. And despite their loftier position on the final league ladder, Doncaster coach Paul Cooke insists his side are underdogs for the clash.

“Sheffield are favourites when you consider their experience and form,” Cooke said. “It’s do or die for everybody now. Sheffield are the form team in the competition, and probably the most dangerous given what they’ve achieved in the past.”

That form Cooke talks about is nothing short of sensational – as the Eagles kicked off their play-off charge last week by keeping Batley Bulldogs scoreless, beating them 16-0.

Elsewhere, there is a West Yorkshire derby on show too, as Scott Murrell continues in his role as player-coach of Halifax when they host Glenn Morrison’s Dewsbury Rams. Fax slipped up last week, losing out against Featherstone – and they face a Dewsbury side in fine form, after they romped home 50-6 against Workington to comprehensively end their season.

And Morrison insists that his side are more than a match for anyone if they bring their A-game to the party, and he hopes their season is set to continue for at least another week this Sunday.

“We spoke about going into the finals with momentum and kicking on, and the boys lifted and came up with the performance we know we’ve got within us,” he said. “We‘ve shown this year we can match anyone if we turn up to play.

“It’s only one game, but hopefully we’ve got a few more left in us.”