IT’S been a week of picking up the pieces for Sheffield Eagles’ coach Mark Aston after the winning run in the Championship ground to a halt.
Aston admitted that he was searching for answers for the lack-lustre display that helped Championship leaders Leigh Centurions cruise to a 44-8 win.
“We just didn’t compete in the first half the way we can,” he said. “We didn’t give ourselves a chance, we didn’t control the ball and we got a lesson from Leigh.
“In training we’ve tried to learn those lessons, be harder on ourselves and get the pride back into our game.”
Eagles face a tricky trip to last season’s Grand Final winners Halifax on Sunday. A win for the Eagles would give them their first double of the season after a 41-22 win at Bramall Lane in April.
The West Yorkshire team made a disastrous start to the league season winning only one game in eight but Aston is setting a cautious tone.
“Halifax are a good team at home and we gave them a bit of a lesson here a few weeks ago and they are going to want to put that right. It will be a tough challenge for us to come back.”
Getting the team selection right will be a headache for Aston who admits he thought the 17 sent out against Leigh was the best on form.
Samoan international Misi Taulapapa was back in action, coming off the bench after 30 minutes. That allowed the line-up to be switched around with Quentin Laulu-Togagae switching to stand-off but it did not have the desired effect as Leigh grabbed three quick tries to seal the game.
Aston said: “We were not going anywhere and weren’t doing anything so we tried to change things. It didn’t work as I hoped. We didn’t play the ball in the right areas of the field and we didn’t ask the questions that needed to be asked.”
It is difficult to see where Aston can make major changes. He decide to give the players who put together a five-match winning run another chance but he’s certain to demand better defence and a determination to control possession.
He said: “I picked the squad for the Leigh game and I thought it was the strongest we could put out but some didn’t turn up.
“There are a few injuries and I’ll have to have a look at everybody’s performance and people who aren’t doing the job will come out of the squad.”
Meanwhile Eagles Under-15s and Under-16s squads will be sponsored by roofing company Everlast Waterproofing Ltd following a deal announced this week.