Sheffield Eagles head to high-flying Hull KR tomorrow with Mark Aston claiming this year’s Championship is the “strongest for years”.
The Eagles chief has seen his side scrap for two points from their opening four games, that coming in an impressive victory over Toulouse.
But tomorrow they face a newly-relegated Robins side who have made a real statement of intent, winning their opening four games.
Only Dewsbury Rams - yet to win a game - and Bradford Bulls, who started with a 12-point penalty, are below Sheffield and Aston expects a tough 2017.
“The competition is going to be the strongest that it has been for years” Aston said.
“I think that is the reality with teams like Rochdale coming up, and doing what they have done, plus what Toulouse are doing as well.
“Let’s not forget that in round one Swinton were in front against London before they came back and scraped it.
“There are some great players in this competition, and people might overlook some sides, but Swinton are very dangerous too.
“Obviously Hull KR have started well, they will be tough. I think that Featherstone will go really well this season too, they have made a good start to back that up.
“Everyone will be talking about Hull KR, London, Featherstone and Toulouse. Any of the others, ourselves, Swinton, Halifax - we are capable of beating anybody, we have seen it.”
Robins head coach Tim Sheens has urged his side not to “fall in love with ourselves” after their unbeaten start to the campaign.
They thrashed Oldham 48-0 last week, and have also beaten Rochdale, London Broncos and Bradford Bulls in 2017.
“It’s hard to say what to expect until you know the Sheffield team,” said Sheens.
“We’ve identified some fundamental areas in their game where we think we can break them down but overall it’s about our attitude. I had a meeting with the senior players this week and asked them to drive that message of not getting complacent and falling in love with ourselves because there’s still a long way to go.”