Eagles must stop being ‘soft’ defensively says their coach

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Sheffield Eagles players have been given a reminder not to get carried away by their high-scoring exploits.

The Championship leaders went through the 500 points-scored barrier last weekend but are the only one of the top four to have conceded more than 300.

“It’s the softness we’ve got in us, we’ve averaging 18 points (conceded) per game, that’s not good enough if we are going to get to finals we’ve got to be a lot better defensively,” said coach Mark Aston.

“I suppose scoring 50 odd points (against Whitehaven) means our points difference is a little bit better but we can’t afford to slip up.

“We’ve got big games coming up and we’ve got to be better defensively.”

Eagles face the first of those challenges against Dewsbury Rams in the quarter-finals of the Northern Rail Cup at Don Valley Stadium tomorrow.

In Quentin Laulu-Togagae and Menzie Yere they have two of the most devastating try scorers outside the Super League. Samoan international fullback Laulu-Togagae (nicknamed QLT) scored a second successive hat-trick in the 56-18 win over Whitehaven.

Yere got two to lift his total for the season to 25 one ahead of Laulu-Togagae but the only other player in double figures is centre Tom Armstrong with 12.

“There’s no doubt the pair (Yere and QLT) are very dangerous and another three for QLT was good,” said Aston. “But we’ve got to make sure that those two don’t run away with the tries.

“Relying on them mustn’t interfere with what we do as a team but they are certainly strike weapons.”

Prop forward Liam Higgins came through his second comeback game without problems against Whitehaven increasing Aston’s options in the forwards.

Liam’s fine and there’s no injuries. He just needs to get more game time without any ill effects,” added Aston.

Yere and winger Misi Taulapapa are in the Championship team of the week.