Relaxed Eagles could prove downfall for ambitious clubs

Jamie Llangley goes back to Odsal for the second time in the colours of Sheffield Eagles.
Jamie Llangley goes back to Odsal for the second time in the colours of Sheffield Eagles.
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BRADFORD BULLS legend Jamie Langley plans on making his second return to Odsal a far more enjoyable one with Sheffield Eagles.

The former Great Britain international, who spent a dozen years playing Super League with Bradford, was on the end of a 
46-12 hammering when back there at the start of May.

However, Sheffield, having since defeated Bulls 32-30 at home last month and reached the Championship top four, head back tomorrow in the first of their exciting Qualifiers’ fixtures hoping to redress the balance further.

“It’s one-all this season as it stands but it wasn’t a great memory going there first time around,” admitted loose forward Langley.

“Speaking to a few of their lads, it was probably Bradford’s best performance of the season but we let ourselves down that day.

“I enjoyed going back – don’t get me wrong – and got to catch up with a lot of old friends who I hadn’t seen for a while.

“But we’d gone in thinking we could challenge Bradford and probably beat them only to not put our best foot forward.

“We can rectify that on Sunday, though, and there is a lot more pressure on Bulls, (Championship minor premiers) Leigh and the Super League teams than ourselves and Halifax. There is no expectation on us having finished third and fourth, so we’ll just enjoy ourselves.”

Indeed, the South Yorkshire club are in a relaxed position as the underdogs bidding for promotion compared to second-placed Bradford – relegated last season and with whom Langley won the World Club Challenge in 2006 – and big-spending Leigh.

Eagles will also face threatened top-flight sides Widnes Vikings, Wakefield Trinity, Salford Red Devils and his only other former club Hull KR in the weeks ahead.

Langley, 31, added: “The big one for us was making that top four and securing the prize money which enables us to start going full-time next year. In a couple of years’ time, hopefully we can be where Bradford are now and challenging for Super League.

“As for doing it this year, you never know because we’re a confident group of lads. We believe on our day we can challenge anyone, regardless of who it is.

“That’s the culture of the club and we’re not daunted by any of the opposition that we’re going to come up against.

“We pushed Hull FC close in the Challenge Cup this year. If we can get a couple of wins here and there, the pressure only starts to mount on those other teams.”

Langley joined Sheffield this season after an injury-wrecked season with Hull KR and took on a coaching role with head coach Mark Aston, too. However, he has no plans to retire just yet.

“I’ve really enjoyed the coaching aspect of it and learned a lot working with Tubbs (Aston) and the lads,” he said.

“But I’d love to play on because I’ve still got a few more years left in me and I’m still enjoying it.”

Faltering Bradford have won just one of their last five games heading into the Qualifiers but are bolstered by the return of key playmaker Lee Gaskell after a broken jaw and influential full-back Jake Mullaney should also feature following injury.