“We were rubbish” admits coach Aston as Eagles players are warned that they could face the axe

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Sheffield Eagles coach Mark Aston has warned his players that they are flattered by their position in the league, writes James Collins.

The Eagles moved up to third place in the Championship with a win at Keighley Cougars but the performance left Aston frustrated.

“It was a slow game,” he said.

“We were rubbish and I don’t know why we keep playing like this.

“We just cruised in second gear and didn’t challenge ourselves which is disappointing.

“On the last few performances, we are kidding ourselves that we are going to be a top three or four team.”

It has left Aston pondering changes for the visit of Dewsbury Rams to Don Valley Stadium tomorrow night, kick-off 7.30pm.

He needs to inject urgency into the team’s play with a tough Challenge Cup fifth round game against Halifax a week away.

“I will bring in people who will do what I want, and maybe look at some of the young kids,” said Aston.

“People who don’t do what I want, I’ll take out.

“I need to get something out of the games but I’m getting nothing - apart from going a little bit grey.”

Prop forward Mitch Stringer put in a massive effort at Keighley, playing the full 80 minutes in his first game as captain following the retirement of Jack Howieson.

“It’s absolutely sad that I had to keep the captain out there for 80 minutes,” Aston added.

“That’s a slight on the people who came off the bench, and should have given him a spell.”

The Eagles started well with tries from Dominic Brambani and Tom Armstrong.

But the Cougars came back with three tries, and would have taken the lead but for missed conversions.

A try a minute before half-time from Scott Turner and a second for Armstrong after the restart edged the Eagles ahead.

Keighley cut the lead to four points before a late try from an interception by Misi Taulapapa sealed the win.

The Challenge Cup game against Halifax will be played at Don Valley Stadium on Friday 10 May, kick-off 8pm.

Tomorrow’s game is the second time the Eagles have played Dewsbury in three weeks.

In the Challenge Cup fourth round, the Eagles failed to score in the first half before coming back to win 30-16.