Rugby League: Eagles can spoil Bulls' party

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The Independent Online
Those occasional spoilers, the Sheffield Eagles, stand between Bradford and the inevitability of the Stones Super League title tonight.

The Bulls need a point from the Don Valley Stadium to confirm what the game in Britain has known for months: that they are out on their own as the most effective team in the country and will be distinguished champions.

Yet the Eagles have a habit of throwing fancied sides out of their stride. Indeed, they are coming off a dramatic victory over Wigan six days ago.

The difficulty for Sheffield throughout their history has been in putting together two or more results of that calibre, although their coach, John Kear, argues that they have been a more consistent stumbling block for opponents this season.

"Over the last few weeks, we've beaten Perth, St Helens and Wigan at home, which I don't think is too bad a record," he said. "We'll do our best to make Bradford wait for the title."

Sheffield are without Steve Edmed, who has needed a bone graft from hip to neck to save his career and give him the prospect of playing next season, and John Lawless, but will be otherwise at full strength.

Lawless's replacement at hooker is the versatile Darren Turner, of whom Kear says: "He has been a revelation. He's the most improved player at the club and possibly in Super League."

For all that, Bradford, with Glen Tomlinson and Jeff Wittenberg displacing Paul Loughlin and Tahi Reihana from the starting line-up, should complete the formalities this evening.

The Rugby League has called in specialist lawyers after making the bizarre discovery that unidentified individuals have registered its name at Companies House.

A company calling itself The Rugby Football League Limited was registered last month, days after the RFL discussed a possible stock market flotation.

"It is my duty to protect the name of the Rugby Football League, which has been in existence for more than 70 years," said its chief executive, Maurice Lindsay.